Scaling up best practices: How to address youth sexual and reproductive health knowledge gaps

Scaling up best practices: How to address youth sexual and reproductive health knowledge gaps

N. Samir, S. Hussein, M. Afifi


International, Cairo, Egypt

Research conducted in 6 Arab countries in addition

to research done by TAHSEEN Project in Egypt demonstrated that there is a

serious lack of reproductive health knowledge among youth in the region. In

response, the Project in Egypt successfully launched a youth reproductive health

hotline, a youth-friendly website “” and initiated

Shabab (Youth) TAHSEEN Week (STW); a Behavior Change Communication program aimed

at young people aged 14-18 in 68 communities in Egypt. The youth hotline and website are hosted by a local


The Project trained newly graduated medical

doctors to work as tele-counselors for callers. In a 4 months period the hotline

received a total of 5496 phone calls with a daily average of 45 calls. Seventy

percent of

the callers are females and 14% of the total is parents. Callers mostly

inquire about fertility, pregnancy, marital relationships and genital organs.

STW is a 6 day program that blends community service, sports and education to

increase knowledge and improve attitudes towards RH and mobilize young

people as advocates for improved communication and empowerment within the


Pre- and post-program indicators show youths’ knowledge of

reproductive health topics has improved significantly. For example, knowledge of

the harms of female circumcision increased from 16% to 78%, and puberty

changes from 13% to 86%. Evidence shows that participating youth have taken the

initiative to educate peers and respectfully engage parents and community

leaders on reproductive and sexual health topics breaking generations of

silence. Having worked on the hotline, website and STW simultaneously proves

to be successful in reaching youth living in hard-to-reach areas that is worthy

of replication.

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