Aspirations versus Reality: Exploring Factors Affecting Meaningful Youth Participation in Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights Programme in Rural Kenya
This paper presents the results of an implementation research of a pilot intervention, mainstreaming meaningful youth participation in a health care management system in Western Kenya with the aim to address adolescent sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR). This qualitative case study included 29 key informant interviews and 13 focus group discussions conducted in five community health units across four counties. The results demonstrate positive attitudes towards the principle of youth participation, yet, also a mismatch between the aspirations of young people to be active decision-making agents and the actual roles and responsibilities assigned to them. This paper further identifies factors that inhibit and enable effective youth participation at multiple levels; individual (such as education, discipline, migration, gender); organisational (such as guidelines and structures, financial support, and political interference) and societal (norms seeing SRHR as taboo and young people as unequal to adults), and formulates recommendations to address these.
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