Working in partnership, researchers at UCSF and Maseno University will help address critical gaps in research and evidence-building by equipping a cohort of young women with greater knowledge of the research process, competency to conduct research that is most relevant to their own interests and transferable skills to improve their chances of gaining employment with other local research organizations. In addition to core training in qualitative research and methods, the program will include a mentorship component and aim to foster sustainable, collaborative relationships among members of the cohort.

The premise of this project aims to expand and elevate community voices and fill a gap in research to ensure that women’s voices are included in learning agendas. The selection criteria for the research cohort is also meant to ensure diversity in the program, particularly across ethnic groups, socioeconomic status (SES), marital status, parity, along with diverse experiences with SRH needs and care. Trainees will also be invited to contribute to any research manuscripts that might be published as co-authors and provide feedback on the training curriculum via weekly seminars and emails.

Globally, adolescent girls and young women face multiple barriers to accessing quality sexual and reproductive health (SRH) services. This is particularly true in Sub-Saharan Africa due to issues such as provider bias around adolescent sexuality, a lack of privacy and confidentiality in healthcare settings, and a dearth of convenient, affordable services. To develop SRH programming that adequately meets this population’s needs, it is critical to meaningfully involve adolescent girls and young women themselves in research. However, this population is historically underrepresented in research on SRH and opportunities for young people to lead in research and program development have been scant. Youth participatory action research involves young people in the research process by setting up partnerships that give them tools and support to identify, research, and address issues that are relevant to them. Evidence shows that this approach can increase young people’s agency and leadership skills, in addition to equipping them with skills critical to academic and career success. However, youth participatory action research has largely been conducted in high-income countries with few studies in sub-Saharan Africa adopting this approach outside of South Africa.

Implementing Partners

University of California, San Francisco and Maseno University




Youth, Abortion, Family Planning

Year Awarded