Woman at radio station (Photo Jeroen van Loon)

What works in the ASK programme?

How to make your E/M health strategy sustainable? What are effective strategies in increasing the utilization of services among youth? What are the pros and cons of working with young co-researchers? These were some of the questions that were addressed during the ASK Operational Research Symposium that took place in Kisumu, Kenya in May 2015. The ASK programme – Access, Services, Knowledge – targets key elements in meeting young people’s needs.

E/M health strategies

Partners in the ASK programme develop and pilot Electronic and Mobile (E/M) health strategies. Websites, social media and mobile services like helplines, texting and chat provide opportunities to deliver SRHR information to young people. But how can these strategies become more effective in increasing young people’s correct and comprehensive knowledge on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights? Operational Research in Uganda for instance showed that peer educators do a lot to promote the Sautiplus website and facebook page and that their role is detrimental to the success of these platforms. 


"Invest in community based delivery models that closely link peer educators or providers with facilities and mobile outreach services - but train them well."


Young people in developing countries still face multiple barriers in accessing SRH services and contraception. So what can we do to increase their utilization of services and contraceptives? An example: operational research in Ghana showed that service providers and young people thought differently about the factors that enable utilization. For service providers quality was what counted most while a non-judgemental attitude and confidentiality was a main reason for young people to choose for a certain facility. To make services more attractive for young people their voices need to be heard. 

Meaningful Youth Participation

Meaningful Youth Participation (MYP) is a key component of the ASK programme. ASK aspires to have MYP in all aspects of programming and research. But what does MYP look like in practice? Operational research in Ethiopia, Pakistan and Indonesia showed that young people play key roles in programme implementation and creating an enabling environment. They bring in creative ideas and nurture a non-judgemental attitude. At the same time, their participation is limited to the activity level. Opportunities for increasing responsibilities and skills need to be created.


Are you interested to know more about what works in the ASK programme? Then, read the magazine “What works” which presents a wide array of best practices, key insights and recommendations. That magazine was a result of the Operational Research Symposium, held in May 2015 in Kisumu, Kenya, brought together 40 lead and young co-researchers from Uganda, Ethiopia, Senegal, Ghana, Pakistan, Indonesia, and Kenya. The presentations of the Operational Research tracks and workshops led to interesting new insights on what works in ASK and how this can be incorporated into future SRHR programming. Researchers also widely discussed how to effectively train and work with young co-researchers using the Explore toolkit.  


About Rutgers


Follow us on Twitter
Logo postcode loterij

Annually Rutgers receives support from the Dutch Postcode Lottery and its participants