We promote informed health decision-making among young women and their partners to help young people lead healthy, productive lives.
Evidence shows that we have not yet arrived at a point where adolescents and youth have reached their full potential.
Adolescent girls who are married and get pregnant are at high risk of dying from complications during and following pregnancy and childbirth. Maternal mortality is the leading cause of death among girls ages 15 to 19.1 Adolescent pregnancies are more likely to occur in marginalized communities, commonly driven by poverty and lack of education, and can perpetuate a cycle of poverty from one generation to the next. At a broader level, it threatens a young woman’s ability to contribute to and benefit from her country’s economic development and prosperity.
We work across USAID partner countries to address the reproductive health needs of young men and women as part of a cross-cutting approach to reducing maternal and child mortality. We promote informed choice and voluntary family planning among young women and their partners to support the healthy timing and spacing of pregnancy, including the delay of a woman’s first pregnancy to at least age 18. Priority populations for MOMENTUM activities include first-time parents; marginalized and vulnerable adolescents such as youth who are homeless, out-of-school, or affected by humanitarian crises; younger adolescents ages 10 to 14; and adolescents in urban areas.
Deploy age- and stage-appropriate interventions
We mentor health system managers in implementing voluntary family planning programs that are “age and stage” appropriate, recognizing that youth have unique needs throughout their life cycle. Interventions that reach younger adolescents can help them remain healthy and in school and afford them time to acquire soft skills before entering the workforce.
Provide a full range of contraceptive options
We strengthen the capacity of local organizations and public and private providers to ensure that youth have access to a broad spectrum of contraceptive options so they can make an informed and voluntary choice about which method meets their needs and preferences, including long-acting and reversible contraception. We provide technical assistance in youth-friendly health care delivery approaches that appeal to young people, are responsive to their needs, and succeed in retaining youth along the continuum of care. This assistance includes support for training providers and clinical staff in adolescent and youth development to help them provide quality care and strengthen health systems to be more youth responsive. MOMENTUM helps planners create youth health delivery models that expand beyond the health facility, such as within schools, workforce programs, recreational activities, and safe spaces. And, recognizing that many youth in urban areas access reproductive health care and voluntary family planning through the private sector, we work with social franchising networks, pharmacies, and private retail drug shops to increase the quality and availability of health care.
Expand multisectoral programming
We help countries design and scale cross-sectoral adolescent programming as a key strategy to increase the reach of reproductive health information and care and voluntary family planning. We leverage USAID investments in youth development and non-health programming such as programs in education, nutrition, economic development, and climate change.
Examples of multisectoral programming include the following:
- Disseminate evidence-based family planning health messages to youth savings groups or community-based income-generating activities, which often include highly engaged young participants.
- Promote youth workforce development programs that integrate soft skills and reproductive health care/family planning education as part of life skills training.
- Provide environmental and reproductive health programs for adolescents.
- World Health Organization, “Adolescent Pregnancy,” Feb. 23, 2018, https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/adolescent-pregnancy.