Let Girls be Girls, Not Mothers! National Strategy for the Reduction of Teenage Pregnancy (2013-2015)
On the 13th May 2013, the President of Sierra Leone, Ernest Bai Koroma, launched the National Strategy for the Reduction of Teenage Pregnancy. This document was developed by a multi-sectoral committee, set up in 2012, involving key Ministries as well as key stakeholders (UN-Agencies, NGOs, civil society). The strategy’s expected outcome is to reduce teenage pregnancy in Sierra Leone by 2015, through integrated and coordinated interventions of all partners.
The multiplicity of actors involved in the Teenage Pregnancy Strategy bears the risk of emitting conflicting messages and overlapping each other’s interventions. It is key to ensure that all partners speak with one voice and that communication and training programs be harmonized to develop synergies and widen the impact of interventions. The objective is not to standardize the partners’ interventions – it is crucial that each actor remain in its own area of expertise – but rather to develop complementarity and collaboration.
The National Secretariat for the Reduction of Teenage Pregnancy is therefore looking to for a partner to design a plan of action for communication in support the National Strategy for the Reduction of Teenage Pregnancy. This communication strategy should be developed by an experienced communication consultant. The following principles should underpin the process:
- Participatory process: participation to this process should be wide and representation of all key stakeholders is crucial. In addition to the partners of the Strategy, it is important to ensure that young people, service providers, traditional and religious leaders and other key actors be included to guarantee that the selected messages will be adapted to the targeted audience.
- Holistic approach: the Communication Strategy should not only focus on the classic channels of communication (media, IEC/BCC, etc.) but also include alternative channels such as community mobilization, entertainment events, as well as new communication technologies (social networks, cell-phones, etc.)
- Government clearance: involvement and participation of key Government officials is also required to ensure that all concerned Ministries will “own” the results of the strategy and consider the selected messages as “national messages”.
- Long-term impact: the Communication strategy should be designed for the total duration of the National Strategy for the Reduction of Teenage Pregnancy. It should aim at a long-term impact taking advantage of the time available.