Adolescents & Youth

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To reach the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030—and to ignite a world in which every young person can access modern contraception when and how they say they want—we need to get youth-powered.

Learn how PSI is applying that approach through our flagship adolescent reproductive health and rights project, Adolescents 360 (A360).


Globally, two in five people are under the age of 25, and nearly half of this segment lives in sub-Saharan Africa. Young people have the potential to catalyze development outcomes in their countries and around the world, including economic and social progress, but only when governments and organizations prioritize inclusion and holistic youth development. When we build positive assets, protective factors and resiliency in young people, and reduce their access barriers to information and services, they will have the power to help us unlock the challenges ahead.

However, many young people still experience interlocked forms of discrimination, limited political inclusion, high levels of poverty and limited access to health systems, educational opportunities and decent jobs. In sexual and reproductive health, a persistent unmet need for reproductive health services exists among young people directly contributing to cycles of poverty based on economic and social exclusion.

We believe that one reason young people have unequal representation, care and support is due to a lack of inclusion and shared power, particularly in the design, implementation and evaluation of services created for their health and well-being. We need their voice to be a part of the solutions that serve them through meaningful youth engagement, participation and leadership.  Young people have the right to be included, and we have the responsibility to build their capacity for greater impact. To do so, we are honoring young girls and boys as the experts of their own lived experiences and elevating them as co-decision makers for the health solutions that serve them. We are prioritizing their voice, choice and agency in our work because if we are to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)—and nations are to achieve a demographic dividend that will propel their economies—the health and well-being of young people will be critical to their meaningful contribution and leadership to solve these challenges. By prioritizing our youngest consumers we can not only build lifetime contraceptive users but create healthy, educated and economically productive adults that can lift their families, communities and countries out of poverty.

Consent was obtained for all photos of young people that appear on this page. 

Our Commitments to Adolescents & Youth

By 2030, PSI pledges to identify, train and deploy a corps of 500 young people from around the world with the skills to co-design and implement adolescent sexual and reproductive health and rights programs alongside technical experts. These youth fellows will be employed as practitioners in programs within and beyond PSI, working as researchers, analysts, advocates and community-level champions who can counsel teams on how to apply meaningful youth engagement and design youth-powered programs. And, through inter-generational and peer-to-peer mentorship, they will be supported to develop the confidence and skills needed to successfully influence and deliver public health programming.

Read more.

Human Centered Design (HCD) is one approach to design-thinking, and is often paired with other health systems approaches to develop deep and nuanced understanding about what matters to people, on a deep, emotional level. There’s power in working with young people for the solutions that serve them. But that partnership must include protocols to ensure we protect young people’s integrity, dignity and wellbeing throughout our work.

That’s why PSI alongside A360 and the HCD Exchange—a representative group of implementers, designers and funders—developed the Commitment to Ethics in Youth-Powered Program Design to honor and uphold ethical principles when conducting HCD with adolescents and young people. Three pillars ground the Commitment’s principles: respect; justice; and do no harm to the young people we work with and for.

Learn more.

Working in partnership with young people unleashes breakthroughs—but without proper guardrails in place, we can endanger young people’s safety and well-being. Alongside the members of the HCD Exchange, we launched the Commitment to Ethics in Youth-Powered Design at the International Conference on Family Planning (ICFP) in November 2018 to formalize principles for how we, as a community, can ensure that we respect, balance power with and do no harm to the young people we work with and for. The Commitment, in addition to the World Health Organization-led Global Consensus Statement on Meaningful Adolescent and Youth Engagement also signed during ICFP, reflects how we’re addressing the unique vulnerabilities that arise when working alongside young people, both during implementation and well after we leave.
We successfully met and surpassed our FP2020 pledge two years early. In the process, we exposed gaps in how we were assessing who was coming through the service delivery door. We did not have a long history of age disaggregated service delivery. We needed to know exactly who we were serving if our goal was to impact unmet need and reduce unintended adolescent pregnancies.
A formula was created to help us conservatively estimate our numbers reached against the data collected by USAID’s Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS) Program while we enhanced our focus on age disaggregated data. We have since devised new formulas to help country offices better understand contraceptive use/need among youth from a wider lens. New youth projection methodologies have been created to better project country-specific short-term goals and Data2Action frameworks have been designed to track success.

How we

Asset 17


Asset 26

Market Development



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The Eight Pillars of our Work with Adolescents & Youth


We’re shifting from a youth-focused to a youth-powered approach.


We take a holistic view on how to reach, and serve PSI’s youngest consumers.


We speak to young people’s self-defined experiences & internal motivations.


We see culture as an asset to transform and catalyze enabling environments.


We reframe the narrative around contraception.


We keep young people’s needs and concerns at the forefront of our work.


We’re committed to meaningful and ethical youth engagement.


We elevate youth voices and build youth skills for health design.


Our Approaches

Adolescents 360 (A360) joined its young designers with a diverse consortium of experts to collect, interpret and analyze data—from formative research through implementation and beyond. Young designers support A360 to step deep into girls’ lives, to understand what matters to them today—and lend new and fresh insight from a youth lens. The result was interventions that girls perceive as resonant and relevant to their lives.

Youth self-segment, often in ways far more nuanced than the reproductive life stage approach often found in sexual and reproductive health programming. PSI’s youth programs aim to align the way young people tell us they want to be segmented, considering their own perception of the life trajectories available to them from childhood to adulthood—and the milestones along the way. 

We’ve learned that young people have many joys and aspirations over the course of their lives. But adverse socio-economic and gender realities bring them to narrow this list to aspirations that feel achievable—and for girls, motherhood is often at the top of the list. In this case, other dreams may be perceived as competing with this chief achievable joy. We position contraception in service of both achievable and aspirational goals, both as a way to protect fertility and attain financial stability.

Engaging powerful brands can help to build trust and credibility. Trusted brands communicate that “you are worthy” and can help motivate youth to not only seek care but continue returning to it. We understand and tap into compelling concepts that already have their own social momentum. This eases the pathway for young people and their communities to get behind our messages and programming.

We find and leverage youth-defined and identified safe spaces, whether they’re physical or emotional, both online and offline. These spaces bring providers and staff together with youth during counseling, which builds empathy so that providers see young people as equals, not just as clients. Youth contributions during our project implementations have increased empathy with and between providers, while data collection and analysis with girls has helped to refine the user experience using adaptive implementation techniques.


By December 2018, we reached over 14 million young people under the age of 25 with modern contraception.

We reached

two years ahead of schedule

We work with


young designers working in our youth programs

We power


youth activities across 21 countries

Featured Projects

Adolescents 360

Chicas en Conexión

Project Ignite

Jovenes 3.0: Innovative Approaches to Reducing Unmet Need for Family Planning in Latin America and the Caribbean

Support for International Family Planning Organizations (SIFPO2)


Technical Experts



Senior Sexual and Reproductive Health Technical Advisor for Implementation Science & Learning



Project Director, RISE



A360 Director



Project Director, A360 Ethiopia

Programmatic Experts


Fedra Baptiste

Country Representative

Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire



Vice President, Sexual and Reproductive Health, HIV and TB



Director, Project Ignite & Senior Technical Advisor, Market Research


Discover what's happening at PSI


The Future of Work

With overarching commitments to flexibility in our work, and greater wellbeing for our employees, we want to ensure PSI is positioned for success with a global and holistic view of talent. Under our new “work from (almost) anywhere,” or “WFAA” philosophy, we are making the necessary investments to be an employer of record in more than half of U.S. states, and consider the U.S. as one single labor market for salary purposes. Globally, we recognize the need to compete for talent everywhere; we maintain a talent center in Nairobi and a mini-hub in Abidjan. PSI also already works with our Dutch-based European partner, PSI Europe, and we’re creating a virtual talent center in the UK.


Meaningful Youth Engagement

PSI is firmly committed to the meaningful engagement of young people in our work. As signatories of the Global Consensus Statement on Meaningful Adolescent & Youth Engagement, PSI affirms that young people have a fundamental right to actively and meaningfully engage in all matters that affect their lives. PSI’s commitments aim to serve and partner with diverse young people from 10-24 years, and we have prioritized ethics and integrity in our approach. Read more about our commitments to the three core principles of respect, justice and Do No Harm in the Commitment to Ethics in Youth-Powered Design. And read more about how we are bringing our words to action in our ICPD+25 commitment, Elevating Youth Voices, Building Youth Skills for Health Design.


Zero Tolerance for Modern-Day Slavery and Human Trafficking

PSI works to ensure that its operations and supply chains are free from slavery and human trafficking. Read more about this commitment in our policy statement, endorsed by the PSI Board of Directors.



Since 2017, PSI has been a signatory to the United Nations Global Compact, a commitment to align strategies and operations with universal principles of human rights, labor, environment and anti-corruption. Read about PSI’s commitment to the UN Global Compact here.


Environmental Sustainability

The health of PSI’s consumers is inextricably linked to the health of our planet. That’s why we’ve joined the Climate Accountability in Development as part of our commitment to reducing our greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent by 2030. Read about our commitment to environmental sustainability.


Affirmative Action and Equal Employment Opportunity

PSI does not discriminate against any employee or applicant for employment because of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, age, marital status, genetic information, disability, protected veteran status or any other classification protected by applicable federal, state or local law. Read our full affirmative action and equal employment opportunity policy here.


Zero Tolerance for Discrimination and Harassment

PSI is committed to establishing and maintaining a work environment that fosters harmonious, productive working relationships and encourages mutual respect among team members. Read our policy against discrimination and harassment here.

PSI is committed to serving all health consumers with respect, and strives for the highest standards of ethical behavior. PSI is dedicated to complying with the letter and spirit of all laws, regulations and contractual obligations to which it is subject, and to ensuring that all funds with which it is entrusted are used to achieve maximum impact on its programs. PSI provides exceptionally strong financial, operational and program management systems to ensure rigorous internal controls are in place to prevent and detect fraud, waste and abuse and ensure compliance with the highest standards. Essential to this commitment is protecting the safety and well-being of our program consumers, including the most vulnerable, such as women and children. PSI maintains zero tolerance for child abuse, sexual abuse, or exploitative acts or threats by our employees, consultants, volunteers or anyone associated with the delivery of our programs and services, and takes seriously all complaints of misconduct brought to our attention.


Diversity and Inclusion

PSI affirms its commitment to diversity and believes that when people feel respected and included they can be more honest, collaborative and successful. We believe that everyone deserves respect and equal treatment regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, age, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, cultural background or religious beliefs. Read our commitment to diversity and inclusion here. Plus, we’ve signed the CREED Pledge for Racial and Ethnic Equity. Learn more.


Gender Equality

PSI affirms gender equality is a universal human right and the achievement of it is essential to PSI’s mission. Read about our commitment to gender equality here.


01 #PeoplePowered

02 Breaking Taboos

03 Moving Care Closer to Consumers

04 Innovating on Investments

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