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Population Briefs

Meeting the Needs of Adolescent Girls: Using Research to Develop and Implement Programs that Improve Girls’ Lives

Meeting the Needs of Adolescent Girls: Using Research to Develop and Implement Programs that Improve Girls’ Lives
Photo credit: Population Council

In Zambia, Population Council researchers are implementing and evaluating the Adolescent Girls Empowerment Program (AGEP) using a randomized control trial, in order to provide strong evidence of the intervention’s impact. AGEP will enroll 10,000 poor adolescent girls and address their social isolation, economic vulnerability, and lack of access to vital health services.

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Population Briefs

The Influence of Rural Women’s Autonomy on Marital Violence in Four Indian States

The Influence of Rural Women’s Autonomy on Marital Violence in Four Indian States
Photo credit: Population Council

There is evidence that women in India who have more education than their husbands, who earn more, or who are the sole earners in their families have a higher likelihood of experiencing intimate partner violence (IPV) than women who are not employed or who are less educated than their spouse. However, recent Population Council research found women’s autonomy to be correlated with less IPV in some regions.

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Population Briefs

Ensuring that Family Planning Programs Respect, Protect, and Fulfill Women’s Rights

Ensuring that Family Planning Programs Respect, Protect, and Fulfill Women’s Rights
Photo credit: Population Council

In the developing world, 222 million women would like to delay or avoid pregnancy but are not using modern contraceptives. At the 2012 London Summit on Family Planning, the international community made a commitment to reduce this unmet need by reaching 120 million women and girls from the world’s poorest countries with voluntary access to family planning information, contraceptives, and services by 2020, an agreement known as FP2020.

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Population Briefs

Preclinical Study Shows Microbicide Gel’s Effectiveness Against HIV and Other Viruses

Preclinical Study Shows Microbicide Gel’s Effectiveness Against HIV and Other Viruses
Photo credit: Population Council

Results of a recent animal study offer new optimism for microbicides, biomedical products being developed to protect people against sexually transmitted infections (STIs), including HIV. Population Council scientists and their partners have found that a proprietary microbicide gel developed by the Council is safe, stable, and can prevent the transmission of HIV, herpes simplex virus 2 (HSV-2), and human papillomavirus (HPV), in both the vagina and rectum in animals. It has a window of efficacy in the vagina against all three viruses of at least eight hours prior to exposure. An in vitro study also provides the first data that the gel is effective against multiple strains of HIV.

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Population Briefs

Estimating the Size of Key Populations in Nairobi, Kenya

Estimating the Size of Key Populations in Nairobi, Kenya
Photo credit: Ivan Mateev

A team of researchers, including three from the Population Council, have developed estimates of the sizes of three key populations at risk for HIV infection in Nairobi, Kenya: men who have sex with men, female sex workers, and people who inject drugs. These estimates are among the first solid data on the size of these populations in Nairobi, providing practitioners with evidence to inform the development of programs that meet the needs of these vulnerable groups.

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Population Briefs

Reducing Unmet Need for Contraception: Helping Women to Continue Effective Use

Reducing Unmet Need for Contraception: Helping Women to Continue Effective Use
Photo credit: Population Council

In the developing world, 222 million women would like to delay or avoid pregnancy, but are not using modern contraception. At the 2012 London Summit on Family Planning, the development community committed to reducing this unmet need for modern contraception by reaching 120 million women and girls from 69 of the world’s poorest countries with voluntary access to family planning information, contraceptives, and services by 2020, an agreement known as FP2020. In a recent study, Population Council researchers recommend a promising strategy for reducing unmet need for modern contraception. Rather than focusing solely on reaching women who have never used contraception, the researchers suggested providing better information and services to support women who already use contraceptives, and making it easier for those who previously used contraception to resume use.

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Population Briefs

Expanding Contraceptive Options for Breastfeeding Women: Introduction of the Progesterone Contraceptive Vaginal Ring

Expanding Contraceptive Options for Breastfeeding Women: Introduction of the Progesterone Contraceptive Vaginal Ring
Photo credit: Population Council

For the first several months after childbirth, exclusive breastfeeding is generally an effective method for delaying a subsequent pregnancy. Many postpartum women, however, do not or are not able to breastfeed exclusively. Once a woman begins supplementing her infant’s diet, stops breastfeeding, or resumes menstruation, she should use a family planning method if she wishes to space or limit childbearing.

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Population Briefs

“Anything Can Happen Anytime”: Perceived Lack of Safety among Girls in South Africa

“Anything Can Happen Anytime”: Perceived Lack of Safety among Girls in South Africa
Photo credit: Population Council

A novel study conducted by the Population Council and partners in South Africa has shown that teenage girls restrict their own movement in public areas substantially more than same-age boys, younger girls, and younger boys. None of the girls of any age rated any place in their community as more than "somewhat safe." The study, which employed "participatory mapping" among boys and girls in both rural and urban areas, suggests that self-restriction of movement among girls at puberty may result from an increased perception of their risk of experiencing violence or harassment in the community.

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Population Briefs

Menstruation Accounts for Only a Small Proportion of Girls’ Absenteeism in Malawi, Study Suggests

Menstruation Accounts for Only a Small Proportion of Girls’ Absenteeism in Malawi, Study Suggests

In many countries of the developing world, and especially in rural areas, girls who attend school do so for only a few years, often dropping out when they are in their early teenage years.

The reasons for school dropout vary. Education for girls is not considered important or is actively opposed in some societies. Often girls are expected to marry at an early age; few stay in school afterward, especially if they have children. Economic factors can be just as important because families sometimes cannot afford school fees for any or all of their children. When decisions must be made among siblings in regards to education, boys nearly always are given priority.

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Population Briefs

Increasing Girls’ Protective Assets in Rural Upper Egypt

Increasing Girls’ Protective Assets in Rural Upper Egypt

The vulnerability of adolescent girls in developing countries is recognized and well-documented. In few places, however, do they face as many deep-seated and complicated challenges as Egypt.

The country has made significant strides, in school enrollment, health, and economic development. Yet women and girls continue to face many challenges. Some 90 percent of Egyptian women have undergone female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C), often as teenagers. Girls are far more likely than boys to have never enrolled or to have dropped out of school after only a few years. And girls, particularly out-of-school girls, are more likely than boys to have limited mobility, which leads to social isolation, fewer friends, and fewer opportunities to fully participate in public spaces and play a meaningful role in society. Indicators like these underscore the need for new and innovative approaches to empowering girls.

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