Understanding the adolescent experience in Tanzania.


In 2014, UNICEF and UNAIDS announced an initiative to reduce the high levels of HIV infection among adolescents in Tanzania. Although adolescent girls and boys (ages 10-19) in Tanzania make up nearly a quarter (23 percent) of the country's population, there was a lack of evidence about adolescents, especially younger girls. The Tanzania Commission for AIDS (TACAIDS) and UNICEF-Tanzania commissioned the Population Council to analyze multiple sources of data in order to better understand the situation faced by adolescents. The Council's comprehensive analysis found that while young people's vulnerability to HIV is widely acknowledged, programs to address the risks they face are lacking.

"Reducing HIV among young people in Tanzania requires bold action," explains says Kelly Hallman, Population Council Senior Associate and primary investigator on the analysis. "But in order to create effective programs, we need evidence."

Population Council researchers conducted a secondary analysis of data drawn from the 2010 Tanzania Demographic and Health Survey, the 2011-12 Tanzania HIV and Malaria Indicator Survey, and the 2009 Violence against Children in Tanzania Survey. To determine specific vulnerabilities at national and regional levels and in urban and rural areas, the researchers analyzed approximately 40 key indicators related to knowledge, attitudes and behaviors, and outcomes (including living arrangements, school attendance, illiteracy, marriage, pregnancy, violence, and HIV) among females and males ages 10-14, 15-19, and 20-24 years.

"Our objective was to provide fine-grained details on what it means to be a young female or male in Tanzania," says Hallman. "We are thrilled that program managers and policymakers are using this valuable information to inform policy formulation, planning, monitoring, and evaluation of HIV and AIDS, child marriage, education, child protection, and social protection programs."

Living locations and arrangements

The analysis revealed that the migration of young people is substantial: while 80 percent of adolescents ages 10-14 live in rural areas, that proportion declines to 70 percent among young adults ages 20-24. Rural-urban differences are also seen in living arrangements: while 25 percent of girls and 20 percent of boys nationally live with neither parent, this is true for 50 percent of girls and 35 percent of boys ages 15-17 in urban areas. There are a number of possible explanations for this difference. Girls...

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