Transformative approaches to reducing teenage pregnancy
Chair – Policy and Practice Advisor, ODI
Panellist – Managing Director, Institute for Development, Sierra Leone
Panellist – Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights Consultant
Panellist – Research Associate, ODI
Panellist – Senior Technical Advisor, Gender Justice Team, CARE USA
Sierra Leone has one of the highest rates of teenage pregnancy in the world, with one in five girls aged between 15 and 19 having children, rising to 29% in rural areas. Research by the Secure Livelihoods Research Consortium (SLRC) shows that most programming focuses on lack of information and access to contraception, emphasising girls as agents of change, with not enough attention paid to the wider context, especially social and gender norms.
To test different strategies to address the problem of teenage pregnancy in Sierra Leone, SLRC implemented an Irish Aid-funded action research programme in partnership with Save the Children, Concern Worldwide and the International Rescue Committee. Born out of traditional research, the transformative programme sought to help the three implementing partners trial adaptive programming approaches to address the underexplored and complex drivers of teenage pregnancy–with a focus on social norms–and support and document their programme implementation.
Drawing on lessons learned from the Sierra Leone project, this event explores the benefits and challenges of transformative programming to consider how implementers can accelerate change and make programming more effective. The discussion shines a light on the social and gender norms that surround the issue of teenage pregnancy, and how an action research approach can help address such norms.