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Y4Y K-MET/ UCLA. The Youth for Youth (Y4Y) Program in Western Kenya Testing a Comprehensive Adolescent Education and Services Model to Reduce HIV/STDs and Teen Pregnancies by Paula Tavrow, PhD UCLA School of Public Health February 6, 2004.

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The Youth for Youth (Y4Y) Program in Western KenyaTesting a Comprehensive Adolescent Education and Services Model to Reduce HIV/STDs and Teen Pregnanciesby Paula Tavrow, PhD UCLA School of Public Health February 6, 2004


  • UCLA Globalization Research

    Center – Africa (sponsors)

    • Edmond Keller, Director

    • Charisma Acey

  • UCLA Y4Y Development Team

    • Paula Tavrow, PI

    • Edith Mukudi, Co-PI

    • Rebecca Morris

    • Tarik Benbahmed

    • Karen Michail

    • Adesuwa Ogiamien

    • Kyle Pusateri

    • JC Walsh

  • Kenya Y4Y Management Team

    • Kitche Magak, K-MET

    • Albert Obbuyi

    • Vidalyne Omollo

Webuye division, Bungoma district, Kenya

All photos by Rebecca Morris

Adolescents worldwide: Key facts

  • Nearly one-sixth of the world’s population is between 10-19 years old

  • About 84% of the world’s adolescents live in developing countries

  • Nearly one-half of new HIV infections are occurring among young people

Source: Youthnet (2003)

New HIV infections in 2003

Problem of HIV/AIDS in Africa

  • 29 million Africans estimated to be HIV+; half under 25 years old

  • Young women in Africa twice as likely to get infected as young men

  • One in seven children in some African countries have lost one or both parents to AIDS

Source: UNAIDS (2003)

Risk factors for African youth -1


  • Lack of knowledge; belief in low personal risk

  • Low self-efficacy, especially of girls

  • Low self-esteem

  • Belief in low personal risk

  • Male desire to be “masculine” or virile

  • Belief that abstinence can be injurious to boys’ health

  • Misconceptions or dislike of condom

Risk factors for African youth -2


  • Peer pressure for early sexual activity

  • Belief that condoms signify mistrust, promiscuity

  • High incidence of coerced sex

  • Youths often barter sex for goods or services

  • Multiple sex partners


  • Barriers to youths’ acquisition of correct information about reproductive health

  • Barriers to youths’ use of reproductive health services

  • Due to poverty and lack of life skills, youths are vulnerable to older sexual partners, who may be HIV+

Location of project: Kenya

  • Population: 31.3 million

  • GDP per capita: $995

  • Literacy rate: 84%

  • Fertility rate: 4.3 births/ woman

  • Roads paved: 12%

  • Est’d HIV prevalence:6.7- 9.4%

    (~1.5 million have died of AIDS)

  • Est’d HIV prevalence (15-24 yrs):

    Girls: 11-15%; Boys: 4-9%

  • Est’d AIDS orphans:890,000

  • Kenyan teens reported being pregnant or given birth:20%



Sources: World Bank (2002), UNAIDS (2003), Demographic and Health Survey (1998)

51- 60%

Burkina Faso54.1%






31- 40%



61- 70%




Central Afr. Rep.62.0%


Côte d’Ivoire68.1%


21- 30%


Brazil (NE)22.5%



Domin. Rep.26.9%




41- 50%


U.S. 46.0%Kenya46.1%


Adolescent sexual activity

Percent of


who report ever

had sex (10-19)

Sources: Demographic and Health Surveys (1998-2001) ; US data from Advocates for Youth (2003)

11- 20%







Domin. Rep.14.2%


21- 30%



Brazil (NE)22.5%





C. AfricanRepublic20.4%

Burk. Faso21.3%








31- 40%


Côte d’Ivoire34.9%


40% +


U.S. 75.0%

Adolescent contraceptive use

Percent of sexually active 15-19 year olds using any contraceptive method at last sex

Sources: Demographic and Health Surveys (1998-2001); US data from Advocates for Youth (2003)

Why Kenyan youth are not gettingreproductive health education & services

  • Parents traditionally do not talk about sex with children

  • Teachers uncomfortable with sex education: pick what to teach

  • Government’s latest AIDS curriculum excludes condoms

  • Most churches and elders oppose contraceptives education for youth: believe leads to sexual immorality

  • Catholic churches preach HIV virus can pass through condoms

  • Many health providers reluctant to give youth contraceptives: believe encourages promiscuity

Challenges in designing programs to reach rural Kenyan youth

  • Less than 40% of youthenter secondary school

  • About 90% of rural primary schools and 50% of secondary schools lack electricity

  • Less than 10% of schools have a library

  • Less than 1% of youthhave access to internet

  • Health facilities often inaccessible to youth (distance, hours, costs)

Lessons learned from other adolescent programs

  • Education

  • Train peers to convey sexuality information

  • Use structured, comprehensive curriculum

  • Develop relevant life skills

  • Spend enough time and be interactive

  • Train older youth to educate younger youth

  • Include out-of-school youth

  • Services

  • Combine education with services

  • Use peers to deliver services

  • Actively ensure services are youth-friendly

  • Build on what exists and what youths want

  • Be affordable and replicable

Goals of Youth for Youth (Y4Y)

To test whether a comprehensive adolescent reproductive health education and services model in rural Africa can:

  • Increase youth’s knowledge about reproductive health

  • Reduce unwanted pregnancies and unsafe sex

  • Increase youth’s use of health clinics

  • Be sustained and replicated in-country




Main components of Y4Y

1. Extra-curricular education

  • Peer sexuality education and skills-building in secondary schools

  • Peer sexuality education and skills-building among church-affiliated out-of-school youth

  • Mentor education and skills-building in primary schools

    2. Adolescent-focused service delivery

  • Development of a network of youth-friendly health clinics

  • Teen peer providers in health clinics

    3. Ongoing monitoring

  • Youth satisfaction with health services

  • Regular meetings of peer educators (PALS)




Peer educator

Youth- friendlyhealth facility



Peer HIV/AIDS and reproductive health education


(Peer educators)

Peer providerhealth facility

PALPeer providers)




Primary school

Conceptual framework of Y4Y

Features of PALS-led education:

1. 10-week struc-tured curriculum

2. Magic Bag of puppets, games, books

PALS:Peer Advocates for Life Skills




What is unique about Y4Y

1. Secondary schools as hub for sustainability

  • PALS are elected, not selected

  • PALS have weekly meetings to discuss questions

  • PALS train new generation each year

  • Magic Bags stored at schools

    2. Nearby primary schools & churches reached

  • Time mapping: everything within 30 minutes

  • Nothing required for implementation except Magic Bags, pens, exercise books and umbrellas

    3. PALS curriculum:

  • Comprehensive reproductive health and skills

  • New concepts: dream team, gender benders, top-5 list

  • Fully readable; requires little training

  • Very interactive: dialogues, games, role plays

    4. Peers provide services in clinics

  • Youth-friendliness assured

  • New monitoring cards: referral plus exit interview


Research questions

  • Does Y4Y achieve significant improvements in reproductive health knowledge among youth?

  • Does Y4Y reduce high-risk sexual behaviors among youth?

  • Does Y4Y increase youth’s use of reproductive health services?

  • Is Y4Y a logistically feasible and potentially replicable model for achieving comprehensive peer-led reproductive health education and services for youth in:

    • Secondary schools?

    • Primary schools?

    • Churches?

Research methodology

  • Design: quasi-experimental pretest posttest with a comparison group

  • Two neighboring divisions from Bungoma district selected:

    • Webuye division:intervention

    • Kimilili division: comparison

  • Data collection (pre- and post-)

    • Self-administered questionnaires

      - Knowledge, practices, self-efficacy

    • School records

    • Clinic records

  • 1.Mary and John have been dating for 3 months. They have been playing sex for two months, but Mary no longer wants to play sex without a condom. She fears to tell John because he likes skin-to-skin contact.

    1a.GIRLS: If you were Mary, do you think you could persuade John to use a condom?

    □ Yes □ Maybe □ No

    1b. BOYS: If you were John, would you think badly about Mary for asking you to use a condom?

    □ Yes □ Maybe □ No

    2. Josephine does not want to play sex until she is married. She really likes a boy at her church named Thomas. After they go out a few times, he tells her he wants to play sex. Josephine does not want to break up with Thomas, but does not feel comfortable playing sex.

    2a. GIRLS: If you were Josephine, could you tell Thomas that you would not play sex, even if it meant you would break up?

    □ Yes □ Maybe □ No

    2b. BOYS: If you were Thomas, would you break up with Josephine for not wanting to play sex?

    □ Yes □ Maybe □ No

    Examples of vignettes used in questionnaire

    Bungoma districtWestern Province, Kenya

    • Population: 1 million

    • Less than 20 years old: 60%

    • Number of divisions: 10

    • Main ethnic group: Luhya (Bukusu)

    • Religions: Friends, Anglicans, Pentecostal, Catholics

    • Adult literacy: 70%

    • Occupations:Farmers 60%, Employed 22%, Business 18%

    • Main crops: sugarcane, maize, beans, bananas, sweet potatoes



    Sources: World Bank (2002), Demographic and Health Survey (1998), Moi University data

    Webuye town: Street scene

    Webuye town: market day

    Webuye sub-district hospital

    Pan Paper Factory, Webuye

    Transport in Bungoma district

    Matatu (minibus)

    Boda-bodas (bicycle taxis)

    Y4Y program timeline

    • Pre-implementation (June-Dec. 2003)

    • Baseline assessment(Jan. 2004)

    • Implementation (Jan.-Nov. 2004)

    • Evaluation (Dec. 2004-Feb. 2005)


    (May – Dec. 2003)

    • Phase 1: Program development at UCLA

      • Literature review and dialogue

      • PALS curriculum designed

      • Selection of other curriculums

      • Baseline questionnaire, sample design

    • Phase 2: In-country preparation

      • Hiring of Kenyan staff and office-set-up

      • Focus group discussions

      • Time mapping of target schools, churches and health centers

      • Community mobilization and planning meetings

      • Pilot-testing of questionnaires and curriculum

      • Youth-friendly training of providers

    “A friend of mine said: if you don’t want to get AIDS, just play sex without thinking about it.” (Male, 15-19 yrs.)

    “If a youth wants to prevent getting an STI, he should eat well-cleaned and well-cooked foods.” (Male, 11-14 yrs.)

    “The best way to avoid pregnancy is to swallow aspirin.” (Female, 11-14 yrs.)

    “To avoid pregnancy you take yellow medicine with milk before sex.” (Female, 11-14 yrs.)

    From focus groups: Misconceptions about AIDS, FP

    From focus group discussions, Webuye division, Kenya 8/03

    “When a youth teaches you he can teach you deeper, but if a teacher teaches you, you may not understand it. With a youth you can keep asking questions.” (Male, 11-14 yrs.)

    “Teens understand my problems better than older people do.” (Female, 15-19 yrs.)

    “With fellow youth, you can tell him every disease that you have and then he can just tell the doctor so you get the right medicines. Otherwise you might feel too shy to tell the doctor all your diseases.” (Male, 11-14 yrs.)

    From focus groups: Interest in the Y4Y concept

    From focus group discussions, Webuye division, Kenya 8/03

    Headquarters of local NGO (K-MET) & Y4Y Bungoma staff

    K-MET headquarters, Kisumu

    Albert Obbuyi (Y4Y Coordinator),

    Paula Tavrow (PI), and Vidalyne

    Omollo (Y4Y Deputy Coordinator)

    Y4Y office in Bungoma town


    Y4Y office in Wing B of

    Bungoma District Education Office

    Interior of Y4Y office

    PALS curriculum: Content

    1: Dreams & Goals

    2: Gender Roles

    3: Puberty & Relationships

    4: Human Sexuality

    5: Preventing STIs through Safe Sex

    6: HIV & AIDS: Facts & Feelings

    7: Contraception: Avoiding Unwanted Pregnancy

    8: Resisting Pressure and Being Assertive

    9: Saying NO! to Sexual Violence

    10: Protecting Your Future

    Some pilot testers of PALS curriculum

    with Rebecca Morris in

    Webuye Division, Bungoma District

    PALS curriculum: Skills

    1:Setting career goals

    2. Taking steps to accomplish goals

    3: Negotiating fairer division of chores at home

    4: Communicating assertively

    5: Building self-esteem

    6: Using a condom

    7: Negotiating condom use

    8: Communicating with parents

    9: Avoiding date rape

    10: Negotiating with health providers

    Pilot testing of PALS curriculum


    Interior of Y4Y office

    Pilot testing of the PALS curriculum,

    using posters and puppets

    Y4Y program statistics

    • Participating institutions in first year (2004):

      • Secondary schools = 6

      • Primary schools = 8

      • Churches = 10

      • Health facilities = 6

    • Anticipated # of PALS to be trained: 185

    • Anticipated # of peer providers to be trained: 32

    • Anticipated # of youth to be reached: 5500

    Schools participating in Y4Y - 1

    Primary school, Webuye division, Bungoma district

    Interior of a primary school, Webuye division, Bungoma

    Schools participating in Y4Y - 2

    Pan Paper High School,

    Webuye division, Bungoma

    Interior of secondary school, Webuye Divison, Bungoma

    Youth-friendly servicestraining of health providers

    Content of 4-day course:

    • Characteristics of youth-friendly services

    • Service provider values

    • Adolescent development

    • Youth sexual and reproductive health

    • Communication with youth

    • Creating youth-friendly services

    Nurses in Webuye division,

    Bungoma district

    “When you go to a clinic, you are treated so harshly. It is like an interrogation: so many questions. If I won’t answer, I am told to go away.”

    “We don’t like it when services are crowded. We youths are impatient…we don’t want to wait 1-2 hours to talk to someone. It’s a waste of time.”

    “Once I had a sexually-transmitted disease. The doctor talked with me and then told me to wait. I overheard him tell his son, who is in my class, about my condition. I felt so betrayed I went away. I waited 2 months before I went back.”

    “When you go to a clinic, the doctor says your parents have to come. Even if he agrees to see you, he is not confidential. He passes on anything you say to your parents.”

    What Bungoma youth told providers

    From panel discussion, Webuye division, Kenya 12/03

    Monitoring of youth satisfaction


    Where did you go? ________________Date: _______

    Your age? ______ years Your sex (gender)? _____

    What services did you receive? (Tick all that apply.)

    □ Counseling□ Family planning □ VCT

    □ STI treatment □ Other __________________

    Did you feel free to ask any questions you had? □Yes □ Somewhat □ No

    Did you get the information or supplies you wanted?

    □ Yes □ Somewhat □ No

    Was any provider harsh or made you feel ashamed?

    □ Yes □ Somewhat □ No

    Did a PAL provide counseling services to you?

    □ Yes □ No

    About how long did you have to wait? _______ minutes

    What did you pay for services, if anything? ___ KSh

    Would you recommend this place to other youths?

    □ Yes □ Maybe □ No


    Youths have the right to receive reproductive health services. Here are the facilities in your division where providers have been trained to offer youth-friendly services.

    • Lugulu Mission Hospital

    • Webuye Health Centre

    • Webuye Sub-District Hospital

    • Bokoli Health Centre

    • Annetta Annex (Webuye town)

    • Pan Paper Clinic

      After you have received services, please take a moment to fill in the reverse side of this card. You can return it to any PAL or to the Youth for Youth (Y4Y) office in the District Education Office, Wing B, in Bungoma town.

      The answers that you provide are confidential. Please do not write your name anywhere on this card. Your responses will be used to help improve health services here.

    Implementation plan (2004)

    • Baseline questionnaire and record review (Jan-Feb. 2004)

    • Training of PALS (Jan-Feb. 2004)

    • PALS train secondary schools (Feb-April 2004)

    • Training of top PALS as peer providers (April 2004)

    • PALS train upper primary schools and out-of-school youth (May-July 2004)

    • Peer providers start counseling in clinics (May 2004- )

    • Video taping for replication (June-August 2004)

    • Election of new PALS and in-school training(Sept-Nov 2004)

    The need is great…


    Interior of Y4Y office

    Mural on primary school wall

    concerning sexual harassment,

    Webuye division, Bungoma district

    A last word…

    “For people in some of the countries we are talking about, AIDS is a real weapon of mass destruction. And what are we doing about that? Where is our common humanity?”

    --Kofi Annan, UN Secretary General

    November 30, 2003 in BBC interview

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