Cameroonian researchers at the Institute of Behavioral Studies and Research (IRESCO), with support from FRONTIERS, conducted an operations research project between 2000 and 2002 to assess strategies to encourage abstinence, increase contraceptive use, and reduce sexually transmitted infection (STI) rates among sexually active youth. The intervention combined peer-education strategies with media campaigns to promote healthy behavior among youth in the Mokolo neighborhood of Yaoundé. IRESCO trained 49 peer educators aged 19–25 in reproductive health (RH) communication strategies. The team coordinated educational talks, counseling sessions, conferences, and cultural and athletic events; produced comic books and brochures; and sold French and English editions of Among Youth magazine, featuring celebrity interviews and information on RH, unwanted pregnancy, and STI transmission. IRESCO evaluated the intervention’s impact through baseline and endline surveys of 2,500 youth in Mokolo and the control site, New Bell, in Douala. This brief concludes that urban youth in Cameroon are knowledgeable about HIV/AIDS and the risks of early pregnancy, but their behavior often fails to reflect their knowledge. Peer-education programs targeting youth through one-on-one counseling, theatrical performances, youth magazines, and sporting events increases abstinence and fidelity and improves consistent and correct condom use.
"Cameroon: Peer education and youth-friendly media reduce risky sexual behavior," FRONTIERS OR Summary no. 37. Washington, DC: Population Council, 2003.
Frontiers in Reproductive Health