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Principal Investigators: Linnea Zimmerman and Courtland Robinson, Johns Hopkins University

Purpose

The purpose of this research is to understand how conflict and displacement affect patterns of early marriage, demand for childbearing and fears of sub-fecundity (waiting months, or years, to achieve pregnancy) and how these in turn affect desire for and use of reproductive health services.

Understanding the drivers of early marriage and the consequences of sub-fecundity that motivate early childbearing are critical in terms of understanding use of health services. Desires for family formation drive demand for and use of family planning; thus, these results can help improve sexual and reproductive health (SRH) programmes by improving outreach, counseling and addressing key barriers. Findings from this research will build the evidence base for adolescent SRH programmes and policies in the context of protracted conflict and displacement.

Courtland Robinson

Johns Hopkins University

Adolescent sexual and reproductive health in humanitarian crises include a range of issues – including early marriage and fertility decision-making – that need a stronger empirical base for developing effective programs and policies, including protection, family planning, and social services.

Expected Outcomes

This work has the potential to contribute to adolescent SRH programmes and build the research base in areas that have been largely neglected. By understanding the social pressures that inform childbearing in conflict settings, SRH programmes can more effectively tailor their messages and interventions. Humanitarian circumstances, including poverty and displacement, amplify vulnerabilities and barriers to the use of adolescent SRH services. This calls for even more effective and context-specific services.

This research will build on previous studies in Bangladesh and Yemen to enable some longitudinal comparisons. It will build the evidence base for designing services that respond to the needs of the adolescents in conflict-affected communities, and provide insight into the effect of COVID-19 on adolescent SRH. It will also produce an outline for adolescent SRH services including the content and approach of new strategies.

Photo of Refugee camp outside of Cox’s Bazaar, Bangladesh. Credit: Jenn Leigh.
Photo of Refugee camp outside of Cox’s Bazaar, Bangladesh. Credit: Jenn Leigh.

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