Starting in 2012, the Inter-Agency Learning Initiative on Strengthening Community-Based Child Protection Mechanisms and Child Protection Systems established a community-owned and driven intervention to reduce teenage pregnancy in the Moyamba and Bombali Districts in Sierra Leone. Two clusters of three intervention communities elected to address the problem of teenage pregnancy through a mixture of family planning, sexual and reproductive health education, and life skills. This action research uses a quasi-experimental design to test the effectiveness of this intervention in reducing teenage pregnancy. A year after community members received trainings, a participatory evaluation workshop was held to learn community perspectives on what happened in the first full year of the intervention implementation. Findings reveal that across all three communities, a major reduction in teenage pregnancies had occurred. In addition, greater supportive linkages between the communities and the formal health system were established. Overall, while the findings are not final, they suggest the intervention is on its way to achieving intermediate results that will ultimately help reduce teenage pregnancy and contribute to the evidence base on community-based child protection programming.
Presenter: Lindsay Stark
Respondent: Sarah Lilley
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Phase One: Ethnographic study to understand how communities in Sierra Leone approach child protection
Phase Two: Developing culturally relevant indicators of child protection outcomes
Phase Three: Community participation in action research: developing an intervention to reduce teenage pregnancy
Phase Four: Baseline Studies
Phase Five: Midline Evaluations
Wessells, M., Lamin, D., King, D., Kostelny, K., Stark, L., Lilley, S. The limits of top-down approaches to managing diversity: Lessons from the case of child protection and child rights in Sierra Leone. Peace and Conflict: Journal of Peace Psychology (in press).
Wessells, M., Lamin, D., King, D., Kostelny, K., Stark, L., Lilley, S. (2012) The disconnect between community-based child protection mechanisms and the formal child protection system in rural Sierra Leone: Challenges to building an effective national child protection system. Vulnerable Children and Youth Studies: An International Interdisciplinary Journal for Research, Policy and Care, 7(3):211-227.