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Research is central to our work. What we do is based on the latest evidence that we also make available to our partners and others around the world. We do research on the ground to shape our interventions. And we undertake studies that inform our understanding of sexual and reproductive behaviour and attitudes.

Rutgers works with national partners, in-country researchers and young people in communities to improve the quality, effectiveness and sustainability of our programmes. Planning, monitoring, evaluation, learning and research are integral to our work. We have strong frameworks to measure progress, processes and results.

Research shapes our work

Our programmes are evidence-based. This means they are based on existing knowledge. Where this evidence is missing, we do research to collect the information we need. Accurate data and emerging trends on sexual and reproductive health and rights are also made publicly available

Rutgers’ research enables us to:

Internationally, Rutgers designs research jointly with in-country partners, researchers and young people."

Data collection, analysis and reporting is often done by in-country research teams, with young people participating as co-researchers. Rutgers provides training and support throughout the research process.

We lead programmes in which research is central. On others, we serve as a technical partner on research around comprehensive sexuality education, sexual and reproductive health and rights, gender-based violence, safe abortion, LGBTQI+ rights, addressing harmful social norms, gender-transformative approaches and meaningful and inclusive youth participation.

What we research

Rutgers undertakes research into social, psychological and political processes relevant to sexual reproductive health and rights. We investigate sexual and reproductive behaviour and attitudes and their causes and the sexual health needs of particular groups. In the Netherlands, Rutgers collects unique data on the sexual health of the population.

Irenes story, Uganda 20

Connection between academic field and work programmes

Rutgers is uniquely placed between the academic field and programme work and builds connections between the two – for example, the link between Reproductive Health Uganda (RHU) and the School of Social Sciences at Makerere University, Kampala.


Reproductive Health Uganda


School of Social Sciences Kampala



How we use our research

Because we work so closely with partners and stakeholders, learning from research to improve programme planning happens immediately. We also help translate data and recommendations into practice, and monitor how improvements are affecting programme achievements.

Our research and learning is routinely shared between countries, programmes and at international conferences. Our team – which has an impressive range of thematic expertise and methodology experience – publishes findings in professional and scientific journals, so others can benefit.

Research in action


Rutgers leads this pioneering research programme, gathering evidence on how our CSE programme Setara influences SRHR outcomes and shapes gender norms and equality in Indonesia.

The programme uses research to influence policy at local, national and global level.


Get Up, Speak Out (GUSO)

GUSO empowered young people to realise their SRHR in societies with a positive stance towards sexuality.

Rutgers led the development of the planning, monitoring, evaluation and learning framework, strengthened partners’ capacity in report writing, gathering outcomes, monitoring and learning and coordinated baseline and endline studies.

Nine research projects were completed within GUSO, including on the impact of COVID-19 and on youth-led accountability.



This joint programme focused on young people in Burundi. Rutgers provided technical support in sexual reproductive health and rights and comprehensive sexuality education and was responsible for monitoring, evaluation and learning.

Rutgers led five operational research projects, conducted by local researchers, including young co-researchers. With additional funding from the Dutch Research Council, Rutgers was part of an academic study led by the University of Amsterdam on the programme’s sex education component.

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