Transforming gender norms and reproductive health outcomes through the GREAT Toolkit
Supporting adolescents (10-19 years) in northern Uganda to improve reproductive health, reduce gender-based violence and achieve equal opportunities between boys and girls is a big goal. The Gender Roles, Equality, and Transformations (GREAT) Project decided to take on this challenge by creating a set of fun and engaging activities that draw young people and adults alike. Building on a compelling serial radio drama, the GREAT Project partners — IRH, Save the Children and Pathfinder International — developed a toolkit of interactive games and materials that targets adolescents throughout different life stages and helps to promote dialogue, reflection and action among adolescents, their parents, and community.
The Toolkit’s Purpose
The toolkit is for groups in the community to learn, discuss and initiate action to improve the lives and health of adolescents. The materials are intended to help people:
- Start discussions with and between young people;
- Think and talk about how to grow up or how to support young people to grow up to be healthy and free from violence, with equal opportunities between boys and girls, especially as it relates to reproductive health;
- Learn about their bodies, reproductive health, gender-based violence and gender roles of men and women;
- Take positive action to make families, schools and communities supportive of young people.
How to Use it
The toolkit was designed to be flexible, allowing school clubs, youth groups, agricultural co-ops, village savings and loan groups, religious groups, and other interested groups to select activities based on their ages, needs and interests. These community-based groups can organize activities according to their schedule and preference — during regular meetings, social gatherings and/or community events. A trained facilitator is not needed; anyone in the group who can read can lead the activity.
The “Growing Up GREAT!” Flipbook for Girls and Flipbook for Boys is a story that helps very young adolescents ages 10-14 think and talk about the changes they are experiencing as they grow up, and seek advice on how boys and girls can live more equally.
There are three sets of activity cards for different age groups (very young adolescents, older adolescents, and married and/or parenting adolescents) that stimulate a fun group activity to promote reflection on equality, reproductive health, and safety from violence.
The Oteka Radio Discussion Guides are made up of 13 guides used by groups to discuss specific topics and characters from the GREAT radio drama, how these same issues affect their own communities, and how they could be addressed.
The GREAT Game is made up of one life-sized canvas game board and four sets of game cards. Each game card set has four categories of questions which help people learn and discuss reproductive health, safety, equality and being GREAT!
The toolkit is still being tested in four districts in northern Uganda, and the project will officially launch the toolkit on June 25 in Kampala, Uganda.
Momentum has already started building around the scalable toolkit. Stakeholders in and outside of Uganda are interested in integrating tools such as the board game, radio drama, and adolescent flipbooks into their programs. We believe that if this early interest is of any indication, the GREAT model has the potential to contribute significantly to best practices in VYA research and programming and improving adolescent health outcomes. You can get involved by adopting the innovations and the toolkit for use in your own programs.