Female empowerment to improve sexual and reproductive health outcomes and prevent violence in adolescent girls and young women in Uganda: Evidence reviews for policy


BACKGROUND: Adolescent girls and young women in Uganda face numerous public health challenges including high HIV prevalence, teenage pregnancies, poor sexual and reproductive health rights, child marriage, and violence. OBJECTIVES: This evidence review explores which interventions focusing on the empowerment of adolescent girls and young women to address these challenges are suitable for Ugandan policy. METHODS: We reviewed the literature to identify experimental studies and systematic reviews of interventions which improve sexual and reproductive health outcomes and/or prevent violence in adolescent girls and young women in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). Two authors independently reviewed the studies identified through a comprehensive search strategy and assessed their quality. From this evidence base, two policy options were explored in depth considering benefits, harms, equity impacts, and costs, given the Ugandan context. RESULTS: The screen yielded 47 studies, of which 12 remained after applying inclusion and exclusion criteria and relevance, applicability and quality assessment. Feasible policy options included: a vertical cash-incentive approach at a national or local level to support girls’ attainment of education; and a horizontal integrated community approach focusing on skills and knowledge building. A combination of both is recommended for young female empowerment in Uganda, allowing for the full range of socio-cultural and economic drivers to be targeted. CONCLUSION: Research into the link between female empowerment and sexual and reproductive health outcomes is still in early development. This review contributes to evidence on this topic and outlines an approach that is potentially suitable for adoption across similar LMICs in Africa.


Lewington J, Geddes R, Gabagaya G




  • Population(s)
    • Women
    • Children or Youth (less than 18 years old)
    • General HIV- population
  • Health Systems
    • Governance arrangements
    • Delivery arrangements


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