Governments around the world have made great strides in creating policies that support young people. Increasingly, countries have formalized the rights of adolescents and young people to access sexual and reproductive health services. Despite growing commitment from decisionmakers, many barriers remain for young people who want to use contraception.
A limited evidence base has hampered systematic assessment and mapping of the key policies and programs that govern young people’s ability to access family planning (FP) information, services, and commodities. Governments and their partners lack clear guidance on investing in the interventions that ensure their commitments to expanding FP use among young people are realized. Similarly, efforts by civil society to monitor the state of policy environments for youth FP are needed to understand how countries are addressing these needs and to identify areas for improvement.
To address this evidence gap, PRB has conducted research and analysis to identify the most effective policies and program interventions to promote uptake of contraception among youth, defined as people between the ages of 15 and 24. This research has been compiled into a “Youth Family Planning Policy Scorecard” to evaluate and compare the favorability of current national policy and program environments.
Based on a review of existing evidence and expert consultations, the following indicators were selected as evidence-based interventions for inclusion in the “Youth FP Policy Scorecard”:
- Policy barriers related to consent (parental, spousal, or service provider); age; and marital status.
- Policies supporting access to a full range of FP methods.
- Policies related to comprehensive sexuality education.
- Policies supporting/inhibiting youth-friendly FP service provision.
- Policies related to an enabling social environment for youth FP services.
The scorecard is designed to allow users to quickly assess the extent to which a country’s policy environment enables and supports youth access to and use of FP through the promotion of evidence-based practices. The scorecard can be used by governments, donors, and advocates to evaluate a country’s youth FP policy environment, set policy priorities and guide future commitments, and compare policy environments across countries.
The current version of the scorecard includes data for sixteen countries: Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Guinea, Kenya, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sindh (Pakistan), Tanzania, Togo, and Uganda.