Investing When It Counts

Generating the Evidence Base for Policies and Programmes for Very Young Adolescents

Author: Population Council, UNFPA, UNICEF and UNAIDS
Publisher: UNFPA


Although they are at a formative and resilient stage of life, very young adolescents (ages 10-14) are often overlooked by policies and programmes. This guidance document and toolkit begins to address the lack of research and attention to this important subgroup of young people by compiling new data-gathering approaches, tools, and methodologies. The methodologies described in the guide are useful primarily for discovering which very young adolescents are most vulnerable, what their needs are, and whether they are being reached by existing programmes.

The guide's objectives include: consideration of the cognitive and developmental changes that occur during early adolescence and what impact they may have on the design of a research study; review of ethical issues to be considered before research with this group is conducted; exploration of the breadth and limitations of information that can be gleaned fromexisting data sets such as the Demographic and Health Surveys; introduction of a number of research methodologies that have been tested already with younger adolescents or that might be expected to be useful in some settings, with discussion of their advantages and limitations; description of research results on very young adolescents that have been achieved using these methodologies; and provision of illustrative prototype tools and basic instructions for using them.