Young couple Vietnam

Young People

We are naturally curious about sex and sexuality when we are young. But our experiences as young people are often shaped by access to information, education and services. Young people can be very vulnerable, facing issues like coercion, sexual aggression, early marriage and stigma. Rutgers asserts the right of young people everywhere to receive adequate education to make well-informed choices in relationships and their sexual lives. We also advocate for policies and services that are tailored to the needs of young people.

Comprehensive sexuality education

Formal, effective sex education can happen in or out of school. In comprehensive sexuality education young people are regarded as capable people who need full information in order to make their own decisions. This is their right. Sex is portrayed as something beautiful, powerful and enjoyable, as long as both partners are ready to experience it, consent, find it pleasurable and protect themselves and each other.

ASK what young people want, what young people need

Young people are at the centre of the ASK (Access, Services, Knowledge) programme in Asia and Africa. ASK begins with establishing what young people (10 – 24 years old) want and need, building their individual strengths.

Together we create a more enabling environment, challenging stigma and taboos.

We develop and adapt services that answer the needs of young people. We educate and communicate about what is available. 

Young people know, what young people need >>>

Young researchers

In Malawi and Bangladesh Rutgers has trained adolescents to be sexual and reproductive health researchers in the Do They Match project. They identified and analysed the key barriers to youth-friendly services. The young people’s research findings were published and in Malawi the findings inspired new interventions. The training can be adapted for any research topic, thanks to the Research Training Textbook.

Y-SAV

Sexual aggression and victimisation are widespread among European youth (12 to 25 years old). They take many forms including coercion, like relentlessly talking someone into sex, threatening or using violence, or taking advantage of a young person affected by alcohol or drugs. Rutgers leads the Y-SAV project to promote an integrated and collaborative approach to advocacy and research across the EU. Youth sexual aggression can be prevented, its victims need access to support, and its perpetrators can benefit from treatment.

Youth advocacy in Rwanda

The Rwandan youth organisation Youth Action Movement worked with Rutgers to strengthen their work for access to safe abortion. We held workshops on sexuality, sexual and reproductive health and rights, and advocacy. After six months YAM organised a two-day meeting about safe abortion for thirty other Rwandan NGOs. The position paper they produced and their advocacy has helped broaden the legal grounds for abortion in the country.

Access, Services, Knowledge

Most of our work with young people comes together in the programme Access, Service, Knowledge

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