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Innovative, integrated, sector driven approaches to capacity building for youth sexual health promotion in Western Australia

Innovative, integrated, sector driven approaches to capacity building for youth sexual health promotion in Western Australia

Background: YACWA’s Youth Educating Peers (YEP) Project aims to increase the capacity of the WA youth sector to support and educate young people on sexual health and blood- borne virus (SHBBV ) issues. The YEP Project has conducted ongoing evaluation and research with the WA youth sector since its inception in 2009. The research demonstrates clearly the significant and unique role the youth sector can play in supporting young people’s wellbeing in relation to sexuality and relationships issues. However, the research also shows the WA youth sector faces significant challenges in being able to address SHBBV issues with young people. Challenges centre on youth workers lacking the training, knowledge, skills, confidence, resources, leadership, organisational support and broader community support to be able to effect change. Methods: The YEP Project conducted a series of 11 focus groups with over 110 youth sector staff and convened two cross-sector reference groups, and as a result, developed three integrated capacity building strategies: an online engagement strategy including regular newsletters with SHBBV information and resources; a youth sector-specific blog for information and resources sharing; youth sector guidelines for sexual health promotion; and a suite of easy access training opportunities. results: Preliminary evaluation of the YEP Project indicates significant gains. Youth workers report gaining new professional networks, increased information sharing, increased access to training and resources, improved sexual health knowledge and increased confidence to work with young people in the area of sexual health. Conclusion: Investing in a strong community development approach, including actively and consistently engaging the target group throughout the project development, has enabled the YEP Project to develop capacity building strategies that are innovative, sector-owned andrelevant. Disclosure of Interest: The Youth Educating Peers (YEP) Project is funded by the Department of Health, Western Australia, Sexual Health and Blood Borne Virus Program.

Speakers: Myra Robinson
Conference: AIDS 2013, HIV
Areas of Interest / Categories: AIDS 2014

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