266177 Promoting gender-equitable norms and FP among adolescents in post-conflict settings

Tuesday, October 30, 2012 : 11:00 AM - 11:15 AM

Rebecka Lundgren, MPH , Institute for Reproductive Health, Georgetown University, Washington, DC
Melissa Adams, MPH , Institute for Reproductive Health (IRH), Georgetown University School of Medicine, Washington, DC
Susan Oregede, MA , Pathfinder International, Kampala, Uganda
Brad Kerner, MPH , Department of Health and Nutrition, Save the Children, Westport, CT
Gwyn Hainsworth, MEd , Pathfinder International, Watertown, MA
Susan Igras, MPH , Institute for Reproductive Health, Georgetown University, Washington, DC, DC
A 2005 multi-country WHO study found that gender norms and social expectations of appropriate roles and behaviors directly influence family planning, sexual and reproductive health (SRH) decision making, and gender-based violence (GBV). The Gender Roles Equality and Transformations (GREAT) Project conducted research to understand the processes through which social norms about gender, SRH, and violence are transmitted in post-conflict Northern Uganda.

Forty life histories were collected from adolescents across the life course: very young adolescence, older adolescence, newly married, and pregnant with or parenting a first child. Forty in-depth interviews were also conducted with adults who significantly influence adolescents in study communities. Data was analyzed using specific software. Applying life history methodology to key transitional moments from childhood to adulthood provided an in-depth gendered understanding of norms, attitudes, and knowledge related to fertility, couple dynamics, and family formation in northern Uganda.

Results show that due to social, cultural, and economic changes caused by twenty years of conflict, many young people are unable to live up to rigid traditional gender norms which inextricably link ideal notions of manhood and womanhood to high fertility and providing for one's family. Clashes between lived experiences and expectations manifest through high rates of unintended pregnancies and GBV. Young people are aware of these realities and open to new ways of forming families and relating to each other.

This paper will discuss how key research findings were used to develop an evidence-based, life course-specific strategy to reduce GBV and improve SRH among adolescents in northern Uganda.

Learning Areas:
Program planning
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences
Systems thinking models (conceptual and theoretical models), applications related to public health

Learning Objectives:
1. Demonstrate how gender norms shape adolescent sexual and reproductive health and gender-based violence in post-conflict settings 2. Identify evidence-based strategies for reducing gender-based violence and improving adolescent sexual and reproductive health in post-conflict settings

Keywords: Adolescents, Family Planning

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have 10 years of experience in the areas of gender, youth, GBV, and conflict-affected settings and led the project team in conducting analysis and synthesis of data presented in this abstract.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.