UNFPAState of World Population 2004
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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

Promoting Healthier Behaviour

Providing age-appropriate information about sexuality and preventing pregnancy and infection has been shown to encourage responsible behaviour (including abstinence, delay of sexual initiation and limitation of partners). Besides school-based programmes, efforts are being made to reach out-of-school youth who are often the most vulnerable and at risk.

Since the ICPD, many innovative methods and media have been used, including plays and concerts, mass media messages, sports events, telephone hotlines, and peer counselling and peer education by trained young people. Programmes increasingly focus on giving adolescents life skills as well as imparting information related to sexuality.

Peer education programmes can help young people understand how expectations about gender roles undermine their reproductive health, and can give them confidence to resist those norms. Some, for example, aim to empower young people to refuse sexual relations and assert their right to say “no”, as well as to insist on safer sex and the use of condoms if sexually active. Others encourage young men to challenge prevailing notions of male dominance in relationships and tolerance of coercion and sexual violence.

Community participation is also important. In Cambodia, community leaders, teachers, parents and even monks (many of whom are young people themselves) are receiving education on reproductive health issues so their understanding and support for adolescents increases.(25)

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