Service providers play a key role in meeting the family planning and reproductive health (FP/RH) needs of adolescents. Whether or not adolescents have positive or negative experiences with providers will shape how they interact with the overall health system for years to come. All FP/RH professionals involved in these processes should be critically aware of the influence that they have on adolescents’ access to information, services, and products. When these actors are competent at supporting the youth they serve, the youth themselves can be better equipped and empowered to make informed decisions that best meet their needs and desires.
However, when adolescents’ access to FP/RH-related information and services is limited by an FP/RH workforce that is not aware or trained in how to provide supportive services, they are at increased risk for negative outcomes, like:
Providers can impose or reinforce biases regarding FP/RH that lead to early sexual debuts; child, early, forced marriages (CEFM); and gender-based violence (GBV). Providers must be prepared to proactively address these concerns. They should know how to respond to the harmful social norms and practical barriers that undermine adolescent agency across all regions and cultures.
How can we maximize adolescent responsiveness and build competencies in the FP/RH workforce in health services and programs that we create and implement? Are you a member of the FP/RH workforce who works with young people? Curious to see how far along you—or the providers you know—are in creating spaces that are responsive to adolescents’ needs and wants? Looking for resources on how you can improve your interactions with adolescent clients?
Check out this interactive quiz based on recently released technical guidance!
After asking about what’s happening in your day-to-day work, the quiz highlights which adolescent-related competencies you might want to prioritize pursuing. It then shows you educational resources and references that are tailored to your empowerment goals.