Adolescence represents an age of vulnerability and growth during the second decade of life. With 1.8 billion youth between the ages of 10-24, investing in the health can make a difference for communities globally. This critical development phase becomes the foundation for living a healthy life. The road to adulthood brings increased exposure to health issues such as depression, violence, drug-use, early marriage, pregnancy, sexually transmitted infections and HIV. Often marginalized adolescents face compounding issues, such as homelessness, delinquency, poverty and incarceration, leaving them at high risk for poor health outcomes.
- To improve the health and well-being of at-risk adolescents
- To build the capacity of health systems to provide adolescent health-friendly services
- To ensure the sexual and reproductive health rights of marginalized adolescents
- Healthcare and Psychosocial Support for Vulerable Adolescent Girls
HealthRight and our partner local partner the Ukrainian Foundation for Public Health (UFPH) run a drop-in center for women and girls, a portion of which are adolescents, that provides outreach services, comprehensive psychosocial and access to medical care for clients that are street-involved, HIV-positive, internally displaced, and/or survivors of violence and their family members. HealthRight also supports a halfway house for disadvantaged pregnant women and new mothers with children that provides residence based rehabilitation services for pregnant women and new mothers in difficult living circumstances caused by homelessness, risky behaviors or HIV, and/or domestic violence. In 2015, 26 women received rehabilitation services at the halfway house.
- Capacity Building of HIV Service Providers
The STEPS program, aims to reduce HIV risk behaviors and provide comprehensive case management, and HIV testing for delinquent adolescents. The program also builds the capacity of service providers to deliver case management, HIV prevention and testing, and recidivism risk reduction education.
STEPS meets at-risk adolescents where they are – in juvenile prisons, detention centers, street settings, drop-in centers and orphanages – and tailors the education content to the risks and experiences of each group including incarcerated adolescent boys. In 2015, a total of 842 adolescents in conflict with the law and 138 of their parents were engaged in the STEPS training.
- Capacity Building to Secure Human Rights for Adolescents Girls
North Rift Valley, Kenya
In the North Rift Valley of Kenya, HealthRight worked in partnership with Kepsteno Rotwo (Abandoning the Knife), an organization founded by former circumcisers who realized the need to stop the harmful practice of female genital mutilation (FGM). Beginning in 2011, HealthRight provided capacity building and resources for the annual Alternative Rites of Passage (ARP), which offers adolescent girls a week of education about the negative consequences of FGM, safe motherhood, HIV/AIDS and other health and development topics deemed essential to Pokot womanhood. The ARP provided protection to girls during the school holidays in December when FGM is typically performed, reaching over 200 girls each year.