Readiness assessment and analysis

Steps needed for introducing a new, or reviewing an existing, sexuality education programme at the national level

  1. Engage stakeholder groups by holding multiple national and regional consultations (this is an ongoing process).
  2. Create a national steering committee supported by national and international organizations e.g. Family Planning Association, UNFPA.
  3. Conduct or update a national assessment of children and young people’s needs.
  4. Conduct a national inventory of pre-existing educational activities.
  5. Determine your programme goal(s) like to reduce the number of pregnancies among teenagers.
  6. Determine the reference values and norms of your programme e.g. mutual respect, tolerance, equality and diversity.
  7. Develop or revise national and local policies.
  8. Develop the curriculum framework, as well as teaching and learning materials, and train teachers.
  9. Pilot test, then launch the new programme.
  10. Monitor and evaluate (ongoing), measure impact and scale-up.

[Source: UNFPA; BZGgA. 2017. Introducing sexuality education: key steps for advocates in Europe and Central Asia. Sexuality education policy brief number 3.] 

Steps 3 and 4 of the logical framework approach could be done through a situation analysis and/or landscape analysis.

A situation analysis is a systematic method for reviewing the overall context, health status, and well-being of adolescents in a country or sub-region. It uses available data to identify adolescents facing the greatest need for CSE and sexual and reproductive health services. A CSE situation analysis should examine:

  • the main issues affecting adolescents and the contexts in which they take place;
  • harmful practices affecting adolescents (e.g. levels of child marriage, female genital mutilation/cutting, intimate partner violence);
  • the sociocultural context of their lives, including the protective and risk factors at various levels (e.g. individual, family, peer, community) and with institutions (e.g. schools, health services, employment) that can influence their health;
  •  the co-morbid conditions and behaviours that can have an impact on sexual and reproductive health (e.g. HIV status, use of alcohol and/or drugs).

[Adapted from: Every Woman Every Child. 2017. Technical guidance for prioritizing adolescent health.]

A landscape analysis should:

  • identify and map existing programmes, policies, and projects that address adolescent issues in general by geographic area, the sociodemographic characteristics of the beneficiaries, as well as the results and outcomes from these programmes;
  • identify the stakeholders and organizations involved in planning, managing, implementing, monitoring, and evaluating these activities, at the national and sub-national level;
  • identify the systems that are in place to support capacity development, supportive supervision, coordination, and other planning and management functions; crucially, it should examine how adolescents and youth participate in and contribute to these efforts, and the systems or platforms in place for them to do so;
  • seek to identify existing and potential sources of financing (domestic and international) and current budgetary allocations, especially how they meet the required needs.

[Source: Every Woman Every Child. 2017. Technical guidance for prioritizing adolescent health.]

Three questions to consider when desiging a CSE intervention at community/school level

1. What is the community’s need?

Individual communities may need different types of CSE programming. The two best ways to determine a community’s needs is by using available data and/or conducting a needs assessment.

Relevant country-level data is usually maintained by ministries of health, education, or statistics and can also be found on the Demographic and Health Surveys website. Community-level data can often also be found through ministries of health, or other local governmental entities and departments of health.

Conducting a needs assessment can help communities to:

  • clearly determine both the met and unmet CSE needs within a specific area;
  • identify the needs of target populations in addition to the general population (e.g. girls, LGBTQI+ youth);
  • define the programme’s purpose and scope;
  • develop appropriate goals and objectives, and corresponding programme interventions and activities;
  • establish a baseline from which to measure programme achievements over time;
  • further elicit community support for the programme;
  • collect data to meet funder requirements and to seek additional funding.
Common methods for conducting a needs assessment, with their accompanying intentions and uses
METHOD DESCRIPTION OF METHOD
Focus group Interviews with small, homogenous group (about 6 - 11 individuals) intended to elicit insights, attitudes, and perceptions about a focused topic area.
Individual interviews Interviews with individuals who are selected because of their relevant personal experience, knowledge, and/or expertise regarding the issues.
Community forums and public meetings Structured discussions with community members to elicit insights, opinions, perceptions, and recommendations related to health issues and community services.
Survey Data collection method which usually uses close-ended questions, thus providing quantitative data. It can be self-administered, or administered over the telephone, using a computer, or face-to-face.

[Source: CDC. 2007. Practical use of program evaluation among sexually transmitted disease (STD) programs, p. 35.]

2. How ready is the community to implement CSE?

Levels of readiness for CSE can increase and decrease. The amount of time it takes to reach a higher readiness level can vary by the topic, by the intensity and appropriateness of community efforts, and by external events (e.g. an incident that puts focus on the issue, such as an increase in teen pregnancy rates or a sexual assault in a community).

Given this variability, it can be useful to contextualize a community’s readiness by stages. Understanding the stage a community’s leadership and members are in provides valuable information to support programme design, management, and sustainability.

 

Stage 1: No awareness

Leadership believes CSE is not important.

The community believes there are more important topics to focus on than CSE.

Community members have no knowledge about what CSE is and how it supports the overall health and well-being of young people.

Stage 2: Denial/Resistance

Leadership and community members do not believe young people in their community need sexuality-related information, or think it is inappropriate to provide it.

Only a few community members have knowledge about CSE, and there are misconceptions among community members about CSE.

Stage 3: Vague awareness

Leadership and community members believe that CSE may be important to a community, but show no immediate intention to act.

Leadership and community members may agree that something should be done to address young people’s need for sexuality information, but do not know what to do.

Stage 4: Preplanning

Leadership and community members are open to partnering with outside experts on CSE to create a plan of action.

Community members acknowledge the importance of CSE and are open to hearing about and playing a role in an intervention.

Stage 5: Preparation

Leadership and community members are actively supportive of continuing or improving efforts to provide CSE.

Plans are put into place to move forward, such as funding, programme parameters, and timing.

Stage 6: Initiation

Programming begins. The leadership and community feel a sense of connection and responsibility towards the programme, and will be involved in it.

Stage 7: Stabilization

Leadership is actively involved in the long-term sustainability of CSE efforts.

The attitude in the community is ‘We have taken responsibility’.

There is ongoing community involvement in supporting and delivering CSE.

Stage 8: Confirmation/Expansion

Leadership plays a key role in expanding and improving efforts, including, but not limited to, scale-up efforts.

The majority of the community strongly supports CSE efforts. Youth participation and donor and family investment in the programme is high.

Stage 9: High level of community ownership

Leadership continually reviews programme evaluation results and modifies financial support accordingly.

Most major segments of the community are highly supportive and actively involved.

Community members see CSE as an important part of the fabric of the community.

3. What are the goals and objectives of the CSE implementation?

There are numerous ways to set goals for a programme. Many institutions or organizations find setting SMART goals to be most useful. SMART goals:

  • Specific – focusing on the what, why, who when and how;
  • Measurable – goals should be defined in terms of quality, quantity;
  • Achievable – goals should be realistic;
  • Relevant – the change you aim to make should be based on an identified need;
  • Time-bound – the goal should have clearly defined deadlines with start and finish dates.

Objectives are different from goal statements in that they are concrete statements describing how a programme will reach its goals. They are more short term, specific, and outcome-based. Objectives can be assessed at the conclusion of a programme to see whether they were achieved, thus indicating whether the initiative was successful.

Objectives identify:

  • who will be reached (target audience);
  • what change will be achieved (e.g. increase in number of young people receiving CSE);
  • what time period will be required to achieve the change (e.g. within six months);
  • where the programme will be delivered (e.g. in a school-based setting).

[Source: The Partnership for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health; Women Deliver. 2018. Advocating for change for adolescents!  A practical toolkit for young people to advocate for improved adolescent health and well-being.]