YOUTH FOCUSED SOCIAL NETWORK INITIATIVE: A PILOT PROJECT TO IMPROVE YOUNG PEOPLE’S KNOWLEDGE OF AND SKILLS IN ACCESSING COMPREHENSIVE ABORTION CARE IN NEPAL
Presenter: Ram Chandra Khanal - Development Practitioner, Ipas Nepal.
While the abortion law in Nepal gives women the right to abortion up to 12 weeks of pregnancy, young women still face many socio-cultural and institutional barriers to services. Ipas has undertaken a pilot project to increase knowledge of and skills in accessing comprehensive abortion care (CAC) in Rupandehi district. The Youth Focused Social Network Initiative (YFSNI) was designed to mobilize peer educators to provide information and support related to CAC. Though the baseline only assessed knowledge from young women, young men were included as part of the YFSNI initiative to shift the issue of unintended pregnancy and abortion from being only a woman’s issue to becoming a men’s issue also. This mixed methods study is designed to evaluate the effectiveness of the YFSNI. Data for this study come from two cross-sectional household surveys conducted from a sample drawn using a two-stage cluster sampling approach. The endline survey is currently underway collecting data on knowledge of and skills in accessing safe abortion from 482 young women and 238 young men from program and comparison sites. Additionally, 46 in-depth interviews will be conducted with key informants to examine their perceptions regarding the effectiveness of the intervention. Findings from this evaluation will have implications for scale up of the program in other districts of Nepal as well as those interested in supporting young people’s access to reproductive health services and engaging young men as advocates for safe abortion access.