The Johns Hopkins Center for Communication Programs will play a major role in a new five-year, $20-million USAID-funded project that will improve sexual and reproductive health and rights outcomes and advance gender equality outcomes for individuals at all life stages.
Called Promoting Results and Outcomes through Policy and Economic Levers Youth and Gender (PROPEL Y&G), the project will facilitate equitable and sustainable access to health services, supplies, and information.
The project is headed by the International Youth Foundation (IYF), a youth-led organization based in Baltimore. Along with CCP, project partners include Palladium and CHOICE for Youth & Sexuality.
CCP will lead the advocacy portion of PROPEL Y&G, working with young people, and people of all genders throughout the life cycle, to develop the skills to work to change policies related to sexual and reproductive health outcomes.
CCP’s Sarah Harlan, who will lead the advocacy activities for PROPEL Y&G, says that including young people and people of all genders in the process of change-making is crucial to ensure their needs and concerns are directly addressed.
“You’re not going to really get very far if you don’t actually include young people in that work and find out what they need and what their priorities are,” Harlan says.
She also emphasized the cross-sectoral nature of the project. “This is really exciting work because we will have the opportunity to address the important intersections between youth and gender,” she says. The CCP-led advocacy component will use data-driven evidence to improve accessibility to inclusive, respectful health care and sexual and reproductive health and rights outcomes for youth.
In announcing the receipt of the award, IYF called the new project “a groundbreaking initiative that will draw upon the collective expertise and extensive experience of these [partner] organizations to advance health and gender equality outcomes for women, men, couples, and gender-diverse individuals; respond to the specific needs of youth and adolescents; and utilize gender transformative approaches to advance gender equality outcomes for youth and adolescents.”
As one part of PROPEL Y&G, CCP will train networks and allies of young people in the concept of SMART Advocacy, which CCP helped develop as part of the Advanced Family Planning project. The SMART advocacy tools focus on identifying the right decision-makers and presenting them with a doable ask and using a systematic approach to ensure change happens.
CCP will also lead workshops designed to strengthen the skills of journalists to use data to communicate about sexual and reproductive health issues among youth and those of all genders.
CCP’s Tara Sullivan, who leads the knowledge management team and the USAID-supported Knowledge SUCCESS project, says that PROPEL Y&G will become an extension of CCP’s already robust knowledge management portfolio.
“Our goal is to enhance evidence-based decision-making by generating and synthesizing data related to youth and gender equity,” she says. “We aim to make evidence-based knowledge easily accessible and available to those who need it to advocate for gender equity and youth development.”