International AIDS Society


Researching and designing interventions in a slum: using female out-of-school youth as researchers in Nigeria

J. Ocholi1, A. Ankomah1, Z. Akinyemi2, A. Sambo1, G. Yisa1, D. Yusuf1, O. Ladipo1, S. Ogabo1

Issues: The involvement of community members as researchers is very beneficial, yet few programmes use this approach. For a group such as female out of school youth, whose recruitment and retention in community level interventions is often a challenge, a useful approach is to make them researchers, designers and implementers of their own interventions.
Description: Working with local community leaders and youth groups in Mpape, a slum area of Abuja, 36 females were recruited. A six-step evidence based process - from narrative data collection through analysis and intervention design and implementation- was developed by the group. They agreed that using well respected peers would be the best approach. The group selected an additional 32 girls as ‘positive gisters’ who would talk to other girls about HIV prevention through ‘gisting’: a local slang for informal newsy conversation among peers. The original 36 were trained as peer educators who conducted peer group sessions. Community-wide activities for parents through drama, role-plays, house to house visits, and other special events were also undertaken.
Lessons learned: The girls disclosed more in-depth information about themselves, their aspirations, and their assessment of risk than they would to outsiders. Some mentioned how their parents encouraged them to engage in transactional and cross-generational sex in exchange for money to start small businesses, hence the need to involve parents in any HIV prevention targeting the youth. That a hitherto hard to reach group became enthusiastic about improving their own health was a key lesson.
Next steps: Involving community members to research into their own problems and profer home grown remedies is an effective method which needs to be used more often. Results show that a female targeted intervention would yield better results compared to joint youth programmes. This is due to socio cultural factors in Nigeria that prevent females from attending HIV intervention programmes.

AIDS 2008 - XVII International AIDS Conference
Abstract no. MOPDD207

Suggested Citation
"J.Ocholi, et al. Researching and designing interventions in a slum: using female out-of-school youth as researchers in Nigeria. Poster Discussion: AIDS 2008 - XVII International AIDS Conference: Abstract no. MOPDD207"