Young Lives: Understanding pregnancy, coexistence and marriage in adolescence in Peru

17 Apr 2019 -- Posted by : chrissy

Young Lives is an innovative longitudinal study following the lives of 12,000 children in Ethiopia, India, Peru and Vietnam over 15 years. The children are from two age groups: 4,000 born in 1994 (the Older Cohort); and 8,000 born in 2001 (the Younger Cohort). The study provides unique evidence on the drivers and impacts of child poverty, to inform policy and programme design and improve the lives of poor children and their families. Young Lives is recognised internationally as one of the few studies taking a holistic approach to children living in poverty.

On the 13th March researchers from Young Lives Peru (Niños del Milenio’s) arrived in Iquitos to present a session to civil servants focused on the findings related to adolescence and in particular, the high rate of adolescent pregnancy in Peru. By the age of 19, almost 1 in 5 young women in Peru have already had a child. According to the 2012 World Bank report on teenage pregnancy, the Latin American and Caribbean region has the third highest teenage fertility rate in the world and teenage childbearing is therefore a major policy concern for the region.

Alan Sánchez, Principal Investigator, explained that the findings of the study indicate that high school performance of girls at age 12 - measured by the vocabulary test - reduces the likelihood of pregnancy in the years that follow. This may be due, in part, to the fact that better school performance increases the opportunity cost of pregnancy. Making sure girls have the right incentives to stay in school and to aspire to higher education is an effective strategy not only to reduce teenage pregnancy but to economically empower the next generation of women.

The Old Dart Foundation funds the continued collection and analysis of data by Niños del Milenio in Peru alongside advocacy work which aims to bring the project's findings to a wide variety of stakeholders to influence policy and practice.


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