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    The UNFPA contribution: theory to action programmes.

    Sadik N

    Development. 1990; (1):7-12.

    A study carried out by the United Nations Fund for Population Activities (UNFPA) confirmed that teenage pregnancy and childbearing have a substantial adverse effect on young women's health, education, and employment opportunities. In developing countries, most women carry onerous workloads, including food preparation, childcare, domestic agricultural labor, and often employment in the formal or informal sector. These multiple roles have significant implications for the life choices made by young women and their prospects for self-fulfillment outside of the family context. The UNFPA is committed to development activities that enable young girls to avoid too early and too closely spaced pregnancies, keep them in school longer, and provide them with access to adequate reproductive health care. There must be greater awareness of the impact of young women's reproductive and productive choices on their performance as co-architects of future societies--a task that is difficult in developing societies where early marriage and childbearing are promoted and parents are not motivated to invest in the education of daughters. Even family planning programs in Third World countries often ignore teenagers as a target group for services because of the taboo against premarital sexual activity. Many UNFPA-assisted projects now focus on educating the public and national opinion leaders about the health risks involved in very early pregnancy and childbirth as well as their longterm impact on socioeconomic well-being. whether channelled through the formal school system or the community, these projects seek to involve young people themselves in the planning and implementation of services intended to meet their needs. UNFPA has also supported conferences of international women leaders and provided funds for research on adolescent sexuality.
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