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Increasing access to information

Young people’s access to reliable information on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights is an essential first step to improving young people’s sexuality. Partner organizations therefore develop and pilot information strategies through Electronic, Mobile or traditional media platforms. Operational research was done to understand how these strategies can become more effective in increasing young people’s correct and comprehensive knowledge of SRHR.

Toll free SRHR hotline shows good results
In August 2014, a toll-free line was launched in Kisumu to facilitate youth access to SRHR information and services. This study researched KMET’s pilot project and the factors that promote or inhibit youth access to SRHR information through the hotline.

The young researchers found out that there is great potential for reaching out to youth by phone, which also increases youth use of medical services.
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Woman working at pc

High use of ICTs, low access to SRHR info
Research into the role of ICTs in facilitating access to SRHR information and sexual behaviour in Senegal shows that ICTs are useful communication, information and entertainment channels for vulnerable youth. Yet, these vulnerable young people (gays, lesbians, sex workers and young domestic workers) make minimal use of ICTs to access information on SRHR. As a result, ICTs are perceived as having little influence on their sexual behaviour. 
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Youth4life’s potential not yet fully reached
Youth4life, an online SRHR platform for youth developed by Africa Alive and Nairobits, was launched in October 2014. The Youth4life website attracted around 19,500 people in its first four months. Most website visitors were satisfied with the online services, but further research showed that younger and marginalised adolescents were not among them.
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Online SRHR needs more moderation
The Network of Adolescents and Youth of Africa (NAYA) uses radio, newspapers and new media to inform 16 to 24-year olds about sexual and reproductive health issues. NAYA assessed how Facebook, Twitter and Google+ influence young people’s access to SRH information in a rural community in Migori County in Western Kenya.    
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Online youth want personal contact and true stories
Online solutions for sexual and reproductive health in developing countries are expanding quickly. Yet little is known about the effectiveness of these e/m health initiatives. Reach a Hand Uganda (RAHU) launched the online platform and campaign ‘Sautiplus’ to bring sexual health information to young people. Research findings show that young people find Sautiplus accessible and informative, although not interactive enough. 
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Mobile platforms an important first step 
Mobile health platforms are increasingly promoted by health organisations to provide direct access to SRHR information among young people. To learn more about their effectiveness, Amref Health Africa established a campaign that promotes Marie Stopes Uganda (MSU)’s E/M platforms (SMS portal, Helpline, U-report). The promoted E/M health platforms of MSU complement and supplement the traditional information dissemination strategies of Amref (peer education, outreach and radio among others) and open up opportunities to expand the availability of MSU platforms for young people in Amref implementation areas. The study shows that the potential is there, but improvement is necessary.
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Gap between offline and online platforms 
From its beginnings as a Unicef newspaper in 1993, Straight Talk has become an all-round media platform for Ugandan youth. Besides print, Straight Talk now offers radio transmission, face-to-face services in youth clinics and ICT centres, a Facebook page, and a toll-free SMS helpline. Research shows that Straight Talk has a well-established reputation and wide reach, but the various communication channels do not communicate very well with each other.   
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Videos and text messages support sexuality education
SchoolNet Uganda (SNU) runs two electronic and mobile SRHR solutions: instructional videos for secondary school teachers to use in their classes and an SMS helpline for youth to ask personal SRHR questions. Young co-researchers assessed the attractiveness, challenges and opportunities of these solutions among rural youth. Both the instructional videos and SMS helpline are promising, although many improvements can be made.
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Newspaper pull outs well appreciated
To increase access to qualitative information on sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR), CSA (Centre for the Study of Adolescence) has developed newspaper pull-outs together with and for young people at schools in Kisumu, Western Kenya. These newspaper pull-outs are an addition to the Comprehensive Sexuality Education provided in schools and enables the schools to reach more students, and to promote dialogue on SRHR. The study assesses the acceptability and appropriateness of the pull-outs as well as its added value in terms of increased knowledge, more positive attitudes, skills, and increased dialogue. 
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