Building for the Future: Enhancing Health, Social and Economic Capabilities of Highly Vulnerable Adolescents

Kelly Hallman, Population Council
Eva Roca, Population Council

This paper presents longitudinal findings from a randomized control study of a program in KwaZulu Natal that seeks to build the health, social, and economic capabilities of highly vulnerable youth in a severely HIV and AIDS-affected environment. Many programs aim to improve the lives of youth, but few target those who are most vulnerable with specific skills tailored to their circumstances. This program, Siyakha Nentsha, has been tracked for 18 months with over 1,000 young people. Preliminary analysis shows the program has had an impact on young people’s gender attitudes, improved their knowledge of HIV prevention and transmission, and increased their skills and confidence in financial matters like saving money and budgeting. Research indicates a link between saving for the future and safer sexual behaviors, especially among females. This program has immediate effects on young people’s lives and can give them enhanced skills to face and shape their futures.

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Presented in Session 40: Sexual Behavior, Condom Use and STIs