Adolescents Development and Participation (ADAP)
Gabonese adolescents must become key actors in promoting their own rights
Adolescents account for 21% of the total population of Gabon
They are prone to a number of challenges that keep them out of school, expose them to several diseases and in turn deter them from community participation. Young people in Gabon need to be at the forefront of preserving culture, engaging in activism and advocating for inclusive policies for their own good.
The key issues affecting their participation include:
Lack of access to sexual reproductive health information:
Access to good and quality information regarding sexual reproductive health remains limited for the youngest people in Gabon. With an HIV/AIDS prevalence of 1.3% adolescent girls and twice higher in adolescent boys, AIDS-related deaths are partly due to limited access to knowledge on HIV/AIDS screening and positive living knowledge.
Teenage pregnancies are also common among girls aged 15- 19. Maternity rates in adolescents are particularly high with 115 live births per 1000 girls aged 15-19 between for the period 2009-2014 and nearly 3 out of every 10 births are by teenage mothers. There is limited knowledge about abstinence, use of contraceptives and dangers of early pregnancies.
High school dropout rates.
Access to education in Gabon is a right for every child. There are accessible and affordable private and public schools. However, while primary school enrolment is at 90%, there is a relatively high dropout rate that causes only 57%of girls and 48% of boys to make it to secondary school. Most of these drop out cases are due to social factors. Adolescent school dropouts are prone to engaging in precarious activities like drug abuse and crime.
UNICEF Gabon is at the forefront of helping Gabonese adolescents living healthy, knowing their rights, advocating for gender equality as well as developing innovative communication and advocacy channels. One of these, U-report is the corner-stone of the strategies meant to encourage adolescents to express themselves, and for their views to be considered during decision- and policy making.
Creating a generation of millennials that is aware of its rights fully depends on what they are being taught. UNICEF supports the Gabon education sector through capacity building with professionals that are in contact with adolescents daily. UNICEF Gabon also contributes to extracurricular talks and awareness-building activities in schools and local communities. This program aims at encouraging young people to stay in school and be aware of their contribution to the community through advocacy.
Adolescent health and HIV/AIDS
UNICEF Gabon, in collaboration with the Gabon ministry of health, supports adolescents in accessing quality information on HIV and AIDS through public Information campaigns, and support and counselling centres that offer sexual reproductive health information and screening for HIV/AIDS. These are free walk-in centres that are used both for information dissemination and research.
Together with our partners, UNICEF Gabon is committed to:
- strengthening health and education systems using advocacy and technical assistance.
- developing interactive tools and information campaigns for knowledge dissemination.
- building capacities of professionals who are directly in touch with young people like teachers, psychologists, social workers and nurses
- generating evidence that will contribute to a better quality of services that are accessible and adapted to the specific needs of adolescents