We only use your email address to send you the newsletter and to see how many people are opening our emails. A full privacy policy can be viewed here. You can change your mind at any time and update your preferences or unsubscribe.

Group discussion with role model girls on FGM at Erubti Woreda, Afar Regional State. Photo: Mersha/UNICEF Ethiopia

Adolescent sexual and reproductive health in Ethiopia and Rwanda: a qualitative exploration of the role of social norms

11.03.19 | Sexual reproductive health and nutrition | Ethiopia

Authors

Ernestina Coast Nicola Jones Umutoni Marie Francoise Workneh Yadete Roberte Isimbi Kiya Gezahegne Letisha Lunin

This article seeks to address the dearth of evidence on early adolescent understandings and experiences of sexual and reproductive health (SRH) in Ethiopia and Rwanda, drawing on a multisite qualitative research study with 10- to 12-year-old and 14- to 15-year-old male and female adolescents and a range of adult participants. The article is informed by a conceptual framework that draws on Amartya Sen’s capability approach, which calls for investments in a broad set of assets that expand individuals’ capacity to “be” and to “do.” Using SRH as a focal lens, the article considers the role played by gendered social norms in adolescents’ experiences of SRH-related understandings and experiences. Three key interrelated gender themes emerge from our thematic analyses of qualitative evidence generated by our multi-methods approach: puberty transitions, sexuality, and victim blaming. In our analyses, we pay attention to diversity (e.g., age, gender, place of residence) among adolescents within and across the two focal countries and consider how discriminatory gendered social norms play a role in hindering the effective uptake of expanding health services. We conclude by emphasising the need for program designers and implementers to address the role of underlying social norms in a more strategic and context-specific way to help young people navigate their sexual and reproductive lives.

Suggested citation

Coast, E., Jones, N., Francoise, U. M., Yadete, W., Isimbi, R., Gezahegne, K. and Lunin, L. (2019) ‘Adolescent sexual and reproductive health in Ethiopia and Rwanda: a qualitative exploration of the role of social norms’, SAGE Open, 9(1).


Related publications

Policy briefs and policy notes
19.07.17
Family planning: the adolescent imperative
Sexual reproductive health and nutrition
Global
Read more
19.07.17 | Sexual reproductive health and nutrition | Policy briefs and policy notes | Global
Family planning: the adolescent imperative
Read more
Journal articles
12.12.18
Puberty and menstruation knowledge among young adolescents in low- and middle-income countries: a scoping review
Sexual reproductive health and nutrition
Global
Read more
12.12.18 | Sexual reproductive health and nutrition | Journal articles | Global
Puberty and menstruation knowledge among young adolescents in low- and middle-income countries: a scoping review
Read more
Evidence reviews and evidence digests
12.12.18
Young adolescent girls' knowledge of menstruation and puberty: a rapid evidence review
Sexual reproductive health and nutrition
Global
Read more
12.12.18 | Sexual reproductive health and nutrition | Evidence reviews and evidence digests | Global
Young adolescent girls' knowledge of menstruation and puberty: a rapid evidence review
Read more
Evidence reviews and evidence digests
17.07.17
An agenda for policy and action to support girls through puberty and menarche
Sexual reproductive health and nutrition
Read more
17.07.17 | Sexual reproductive health and nutrition | Evidence reviews and evidence digests
An agenda for policy and action to support girls through puberty and menarche
Read more