This is an Entry to the Government Best Practice Recognition Awards
IDOLescent MATTER (Motivate. Advocate. Teach. Testify. Empower. Related.)
Maligang Barangay Local Government Unit
Best practice Focus Area(s)
Customer and citizen focus, Human Resource
IDOLescent MATTER (Motivate. Advocate. Teach. Testify. Empower. Relate.) is a holistic, culture-sensitive peer education strategy, mobilizing adolescents as peer educators in promoting healthy adolescence and preventing early pregnancy. The project trained and mobilized adolescents as peer educators facilitating interactive youth development sessions focusing on adolescence, physical, mental-psychosocial, sexual, moral development, and early pregnancy prevention.
It was initiated by the Team TEENPuyog comprised of Human Resources for Health of the Department of Health and was started last March 2018.
Background and Problem
Maligang is a geographically isolated and disadvantaged area (GIDA) and an indigenous cultural community where 90% of its population is T’boli, with 20% of the total population being adolescents. Belonging to a marginalized group and considering the physical, psychological, social, and sexual changes and concerns of these adolescents, it brings difficulty to meet their needs and reinforces their vulnerability.
Teenage or early pregnancy is high in the community. In 2017, the early pregnancy rate was 35%, with one teenage maternal mortality recorded in 2016. Factors associated with the existing problem include early marriage, poor decision-making skills due to immaturity and curiosity in relation to teenage pregnancy as well as peer pressure.
Thus, the project aims to promote healthy adolescence and curb early pregnancy cases by enhancing their knowledge and attitude towards healthy adolescence and responsive decision-making.
Solution and Impact
The concept of the project is to turn the negative mindset into positive behavior through information, education, and communication (IEC) strategy that instill behavioral change among adolescents. This peer-to-peer approach creates a mutual and therapeutic relationship that fosters rapport and openness among the adolescents, thus making peer education effective in creating awareness on different health issues they are confronted with, making themselves well-informed and more responsive in relation to their adolescent health needs.
The project begins with root-cause analysis and focuses group discussion to identify the grass-root factors associated with increased early pregnancy rates in the community. After such, a manual on youth development session is formulated and tailored-fit to the need as identified, making it holistic and culture-sensitive. Then, volunteer adolescents were trained as peer educators using the developed manual. The manual is then tested through shadowing activity. Lastly, actual youth development sessions were regularly conducted in Maligang.
The project resulted in a positive outcome. Early pregnancy rate dropped from 35% in 2017 to 28% in 2018 and as of August of 2019, the rate is at 15% only. There is also an increased visit of adolescents in the health facility to avail of peer education services and utilize the teen corner of the said facility. Further, this strategy will eventually eliminate the gap between adolescents and access to healthcare, hence improving health-seeking behavior.
The IDOLescent M.A.T.T.E.R. project yielded a positive result in curbing the incidence of early pregnancy in the community. It also empowered adolescent peer educators in taking the lead and going extra miles in initiating youth development sessions.
The project was awarded as grand champion during Ideas Positive Run 8 of Unilab Foundation, a platform for youth-led health initiatives and projects. The project was also a vital component in making Maligang BHS as a level III adolescent-friendly health facility. The project is also looking forward to its replication in other barangays.