Purpose: To describe the implementation and evaluation of an adolescent reproductive health peer education program in West Africa. The program, known as the West African Youth Initiative (WAYI), was developed to improve knowledge of sexuality and reproductive health, and promote safer sex behaviors and contraceptive use among sexually active adolescents in Nigeria and Ghana.
Methods: Between November 1994 and April 1997, two organizations, the Association for Reproductive and Family Health (ARFH), based in Nigeria, and Advocates for Youth, based in Washington D.C., supported community-based youth-serving organizations in the two countries to implement peer education projects. Consultants from the African Regional Health Education Centre (ARHEC) in Nigeria provided technical assistance in designing and conducting a quasi-experimental process and outcome evaluation of the projects.
Results: There were significant differences over time and between intervention and control groups concerning reproductive health knowledge, use of contraceptives in the previous 3 months, willingness to buy contraceptives, and self-efficacy in contraceptive use.
Conclusions: Overall, the project provides evidence that peer education is most effective at improving knowledge and promoting attitudinal and behavior change among young people in school settings.