Programmes addressing harmful gender and social norms are an equally critical component of an integrated HIV response for AGYW, empowering young people to reduce their risk of HIV infection. Programmes should aim to provide AGYW with protective skills to empower them with the confidence and ability to control their sexual and reproductive health choices.
Community mobilization and building leadership amongst AGYW and young men can help to build understanding and change harmful social and gender norms. Supporting adolescent girls and young women, as leaders in their communities and within HIV programmes, builds opportunities for their engagement on issues relating to harmful norms. Adolescent and young male leaders are equally important role models for changing gender norms amongst men.
Adolescent-friendly Strategies: Young people as leaders
Programmes should support and empower young people to become strong voices leading the call for changes to harmful gender norms.
Young women should be supported to become leaders of programmes, or as advocates and role models for adolescent girls and young women’s equal participation in society.
Male leaders can also become positive role models to reach other adolescent boys and young men, leading by showing respect for adolescent girls and young women, challenging discriminatory and harmful gender norms and encouraging behaviour change.