VYA ALLIANCE SNAPSHOT
The VYA Alliance started as a consortium of members — Deutsche Stiftung Weltbevoelkerung (DSW), Institute for Reproductive Health at Georgetown University (IRH), Plan International USA, and Save the Children—who, since 2010, have been working together to catalyze action to meet the needs of very young adolescents (VYA) globally through their work and in a Community of Practice (CoP).
This K4Health VYA resource library was created by Save the Children and IRH on behalf of the VYA Alliance. As of 2015, the VYA Alliance has shifted over to the Very Young Adolescent Task Team under the 5-year, USAID-funded Passages Project. The Passages project is about transforming social norms for adolescent and youth sexual and reproductive health, with VYA as a key population.
- Raise awareness of the importance of investing in VYAs.
- Develop and test innovative programs.
- Make program practices, tools, and guidelines widely accessible.
DSW (Deutsche Stiftung Weltbevoelkerung) is an international development and advocacy organization. Our focus is on achieving universal access to sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR), which is fundamental to improving health and fighting poverty. DSW’s Youth-to-Youth Initiative and the Youth Adolescents Program guide communities to advocate for VYAs with governments and other stakeholders in Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya and Ethiopia. DSW, in close partnership with Bayer HealthCare Pharmaceuticals, implemented the “Young Adolescents Project” (YAP) between 2009 and 2012 in three districts in Uganda. The aim of the project was to remove social and structural barriers faced by VYAs in accessing age appropriate SRHR information and services. Currently YAP program 2013-2015 is running in the Coastal region of Kenya in Kilifi County.
Georgetown University’s Institute for Reproductive Health (IRH) has been committed to generating and applying evidence to programming and advocacy for VYAs since we developed the My Changing Body puberty curriculum in 2005. Research-to-practice initiatives include formative research, program development and impact evaluation, as well as national and regional technical consultations with a focus on fertility awareness, body literacy and gender. Current intervention studies include the Gender Roles, Equality and Transformation (GREAT) Project (Uganda), the CycleSmart menstrual management kit (Nepal, Burkina Faso), and GrowUp Smart and Twelve Plus (Rwanda). Research initiatives include a study with the Search Institute to assess whether developmental assets are significantly associated with SRH among VYAs, and ongoing technical input into the JHU/WHO Global Early Adolescent study.
Plan International USA is part of a global organization founded in 1937 that works with communities worldwide to end the cycle of poverty for children. Plan International's activities are centered on a Child-Centered Community Development (CCCD) approach, which is rights-based, holistic, gender-sensitive, and inclusive. Plan's specific impact areas that affect VYAs include SRH/HIV, child protection, child participation, education, and gender and social inclusion. In 2012, the Centre for Development and Population Activities (CEDPA) became part of Plan International USA. CEDPA's Better Life Options and Opportunities Model using the Choose a Future! Curriculum has proven effective in building the internal and external assets that VYAs need to make a healthy transition to adulthood in Latin America, Asia and Africa.
Save the Children is a global leader in VYA health with programs in 10 countries. SC’s innovative tools and programs build a life-long foundation for gender equality and SRH in early adolescence in order to improve broader maternal and newborn health outcomes. SC’s VYA programs encompass gender and sexuality education, puberty education and menstrual hygiene management, parent engagement, and access to age- and life stage-responsive health services. Current projects include the VYA Gender Norms Package including Choices, Voices, and Promises (now scaling up in seven countries; helps VYAs form positive gender norms at individual, household, and community levels), and the Gender Roles, Equality and Transformations (GREAT) Project in Uganda. Save’s previous work with this age group includes Protecting Futures (puberty education for girls to improve school attendance) and the Malawi Girls’ Education Project (promoted girls’ education by ensuring protection, psychosocial support and female role models).