Adolescents and young people

The world gains considerably by investing in young people. But adults often fail to provide the resources they need to chart a healthy course to adulthood.

GreeneWorks is especially concerned with helping adolescents improve their sexual and reproductive health. Reducing the risks of unprotected sex and premature childbearing has a dramatic impact on young people’s prospects—positively affecting their education, earning potential, well-being, and the lives of their children. Our work emphasizes the active role young people can play in advocating for themselves and how to support them in shaping their own futures.

Selected collaborations and resources

Margaret Greene co-wrote Girls Speak. A New Voice in Global Development for the International Center for Research on Women. The report expands on the idea that girls have a right to be heard, respected, and valued. Further, by listening to what girls want, policymakers and program managers can help bridge the gaps between ambitions and experiences. This report outlines six themes arising from girls’ aspirations, including the desire to be healthy and educated with viable livelihood and career opportunities; financial security and independence; and the wish to marry and have children whenever they want.

Greene worked with the USAID’s Interagency Youth Working Group and Family Health International to organize the Protecting and Empowering Adolescent Girls: Evidence for the Global Health Initiative Conference (2010).

What do we know about the impact of adolescent sexual activity, pregnancy and childbearing on girls’ life prospects? Margaret Greene and Thomas W. Merrick’s research review Poverty Reduction: Does Reproductive Health Matter for the World Bank builds on their earlier MacArthur Foundation-funded research exploring the links between poor reproductive health and poverty.

Poor Health, Poor Women: How Reproductive Health Affects Poverty, a summary of this work, was published by the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.

Greene’s work with Population Action International resulted in a seven-country analysis of youth policy. In This Generation: Sexual and Reproductive Health Policies For a Youthful World showing what countries as diverse as Iran, Mexico and the Netherlands have done to invest more holistically in young people’s sexual and reproductive lives.