Meeting the Sexual and Reproductive Health Needs of Young Married Women and First-time Parents Toolkit

Save the Children
Institute for Reproductive Health
Save the Children and Institute for Reproductive Health (IRH) on behalf of the VYA Alliance.Knowledge Success
Publication Year:
  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-Being
  • SDG 5 - Gender Equality

In many countries and regions of the world, young people (ages 10-24) experience early marriage followed directly by pressure to bear children, making young married women (YMW) a cohort with particularly high fertility rates, high unmet need for contraception, and high rates of closely spaced pregnancies. Young married women and first-time parents (FTPs) face a unique set of challenges to living healthy sexual and reproductive lives—challenges that are different to those faced by unmarried adolescents, older married women or older parents.

To contribute to meeting the needs of YMW and FTPs, Pathfinder International, in collaboration with its Evidence to Action (E2A) project, developed this toolkit, which brings together tools and resources that support program development and implementation. The toolkit includes:

  • Publications that supply evidence and programmatic experience, which can inform intervention design or be used in advocacy activities
  • Curricula and guidance developed for health providers, community health workers, and small group leaders who are involved in programs targeting YMW and FTPs
  • Behavior and social norm change tools, guidance for implementers, and service delivery tools.

The materials in the toolkit address a range of topics relevant to meeting the needs of FTPs and YMW, such as: contraception, healthy timing and spacing of pregnancy (HTSP), couples' communication and building healthy relationships, maternal and newborn health, gender equality, gender-based violence (GBV), HIV prevention, and lifeskills.

Some of the materials in the toolkit were designed for specific regions or countries (e.g., Uganda, francophone West Africa, Tanzania, Nigeria, Nepal, Malawi, India, and Madagascar), whereas others are global. All can be adapted to meet the needs of the user’s specific context.

The materials included focus explicitly on young married women and/or first-time parents. Other relevant materials can be found in the HTSP Toolkit, the Youth Policy Toolkit, and in the K4Health topic page on Preventing Adolescent Pregnancy.

This toolkit was developed by Pathfinder International and the Evidence to Action Project. See the About page to learn more about how to use this toolkit.

Toolkit Purpose. This toolkit is for program managers, educators, health workers, advocates, researchers and policy makers committed to making a difference in the lives of very young adolescents (girls and boys between the ages of 10-14). The toolkit offers resources which address the unique developmental, cognitive, and social opportunities and challenges facing this age group. It provides links to examples of successful programs, research results, curricula, advocacy materials and other resources useful for working with VYAs.


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