Young People

Today's world is home to an unprecedented 1.8 billion young people ages 10 to 24. Yet their sexual and reproductive health needs are often overlooked.

Boys and girls at a refugee camp in Rajasthan, India. © 2011 Abhijit Chakraborty/AARSHI, Courtesy of PhotoshareYoung people face unique challenges during humanitarian emergencies. Often their family and social structures are disassembled, and their educational or community programs are discontinued. When separated from their families and communities and removed from their social networks, young people might find themselves in adult or risky situations without the support of parents or other role models. This loss of economic and social stability makes adolescents increasingly vulnerable to poverty, violence, sexual exploitation and abuse, and reproductive health challenges including HIV and STI infection, unwanted pregnancy, and unsafe abortion.

Health workers in humanitarian settings need training to provide youth-friendly reproductive health services, which share the following characteristics:

  • Providers communicate with young people in a respectful and nonjudgmental manner.
  • The facility enforces privacy and confidentiality policies for young people.
  • The facility has convenient hours and location, and a welcoming environment, for young people.
  • The services are affordable.
  • Young people participate in the development and implementation of policies and services.

This section of the Toolkit contains tools and guidance on providing youth-friendly reproductive health and related services in humanitarian settings. Do you have a comment, or would you like to suggest a resource on youth-friendly services for inclusion in this Toolkit? Please fill out our feedback form.