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HOME: STATE OF WORLD POPULATION 2004: Adolescents and Young People
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Adolescents and Young People

Implementing the ICPD Consensus
Second Generation of Programmes
UNFPA Global Survey Findings
Role of NGOs
Key Health and Development Concerns
Meeting Young People’s Needs
Promoting Healthier Behaviour
Youth-friendly Services
Legal Progress
Key Challenges

Second Generation of Programmes

Drawing on experience since 1994, a comprehensive approach to youth programming has emerged as a global consensus in the past few years. It links reproductive health interventions—including programmes that empower adolescents to delay sexual activity and refuse unwanted relations and to protect themselves if sexually active—to efforts to provide adolescents with choices and options through investments in education, job training and citizenship development. Another priority is to increase the voice and participation of young people in health and development decisions and in the broader life of their communities.

These second-generation adolescent and youth programmes are also giving priority to reaching underserved groups of young people including those who are married, those living in rural areas and poor urban settlements, and those who are not in school (a majority of the adolescent population in many countries).

Efforts in this area show great promise, but need to be massively scaled up to adequately confront the enormous challenges facing the world’s youth.


The new Multi-Media Centre complex in Cotonou, Benin, bustles with activity. In every room, young people from around the country—nearly 300 in all—are learning how to be print journalists, photographers, radio and TV broadcasters, magazine writers, layout artists, computer graphics experts, web designers, videographers, digital videotape editors, and radio and TV technicians.

Launched by UNFPA in cooperation with the Government, the centre integrates job training with education about preventing HIV/AIDS and unwanted pregnancies, so trainees can also become local advocates for healthier behaviours. The television and 24-hour radio station offer programmes produced by and for youth and have large audiences: 1 million TV viewers and 300,000 daily radio listeners.

Many of the adolescents who frequent the centre are dropouts (in Benin, only 7 per cent of girls and 17 per cent of boys go on to secondary school). Without the centre they would have few options to learn livelihood skills or gain sound information about reproductive health.

The centre is one component of a comprehensive project, Health and Social Services for Adolescents (EAGER), supported by the United Nations Foundation as part of a multicountry initiative on adolescent girls. EAGER also supports youth and leisure centres, youth-friendly health clinics and education, with an emphasis on reducing illiteracy among young women and girls. See Sources

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