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TeenGen is an engaging and highly participatory training experience for adolescents aged 13-17 from key populations in the Asia-Pacific region.
More About YouthLEAD
TeenGen is an engaging and highly participatory training experience for adolescents aged 13-17 from key populations in the Asia-Pacific region. It is designed to be run across 4 consecutive days, but there are various modes of delivery possible.
TeenGen has been developed in close consultation with adolescents from key populations from across the region as well as professional experts working in the region. Consultations with adolescents from eight countries have helped with initial design, with piloting in Viet Nam and Laos informing the final refinement of the training. This has resulted in a training experience that is enjoyable and responsive to the genuine needs of adolescent key populations.
TeenGen uses and evidence-informed approach. This means that it takes guidance from prior research of what works to develop of knowledge and skills in participants, as well as features of ineffective interventions. The training uses interactive games and activities that enable adolescents to participate proactively, think critically and solve problems, while at the same time building their knowledge, leadership and communication skills in a safe space where they can speak out.
TeenGen aims to build the knowledge and skills of adolescent key populations on HIV, leadership and human rights. Specifically, the objectives of TeenGen are to:
• Provide adolescents from key populations with information on HIV and other sexual and reproductive health issues and skills to improve their health-seeking behaviours
• Establish and build adolescents’ awareness and understanding of their rights
• Build the communication, advocacy and leadership skills of adolescents from key populations
Learn about YouthLEAD
It is important to respect the unique experiences and challenges that adolescents from key populations face. Approach all interactions with empathy and a non-judgmental attitude. Some considerations for working with key populations, regardless of which sub-population(s) they identify, are:
Additional guidance on working with different sub-population groups can be found in the Joint UN International Technical and Programmatic Guidance on Out-of-school Comprehensive Sexuality Education.
While the UN defines an adolescent as a person aged 10 to 19 years, TeenGen is intended for adolescents from key populations who are aged 13 to 17. The participants involved in consultations informing the development of TeenGen agreed that the issues and priorities of those who are aged 18 and above are covered by other courses in the region. Please note that some of the topics and activities covered are not age-appropriate for adolescents under the age of 13.
TeenGen activities can be adapted to be used with big or small groups. However, ideally TeenGen is conducted with around 20 to 25 adolescents from key populations. Bigger groups will lead to activities and games taking longer.
TeenGen is primarily designed to be delivered in a concentrated four-day training. If funding allows, a residential training whereby all participants and facilitators stay together in one location is ideal. This provides the opportunity for participants to relax, network and to participate in additional activities in the evening (including TeenFactor!).
There are also benefits of delivering the TEENGEN content in a series of shorter sessions over a longer period of time (e.g. weekly 2-2.5 hour sessions over a period of several months). This has the benefit of accommodating participants’ schedules more flexibly and making it feasible for those with various commitments. It also encourages ongoing engagement and reflection, as participants have time between sessions to consider and apply what they have learned.
Sample agendas for both a four-day concentrated training and ten x 2-2.5-hour sessions are provided.
In some contexts, it may be seen as more practical or cost-effective to deliver TeenGen online, using a virtual platform such as Zoom. While some activities could be adapted for online delivery, this is not advised or encouraged due to potential issues around safeguarding and protection of participants which are better enabled in a face-to-face training context.
TeenGen is primarily designed for adolescents from key populations. This is based on the rationale that key populations require specialized sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) knowledge and skills, different from what would be recommended for the general population of adolescents. It is also based on the reality that adolescents from key populations are typically marginalized and lack opportunities both to learn how to protect their SRHR and to participate in leadership opportunities.
The best way to reach adolescent key populations is with a ‘targeted’ approach. This means that special efforts are made to target, reach and invite specific groups. Therefore, while it is possible to deliver TeenGen in school settings, this is not the recommended model to use.
If delivering TeenGen activities in school, take note of the school timetable and class time allocations and adapt the activities accordingly. Most activities can be delivered within a 40-60 minute timeframe. For activities that take longer than 60 minutes, steps can be broken up enabling delivery over two classes. An after-school programme could also be considered to allow for longer sessions.
Facilitators should be experienced trainers representing youth and/or adults from key populations in the region/country(ies) of focus. Ideally trainers will work in pairs or larger teams, enabling division of responsibilities, while also fostering an environment of mutual support and encouragement. Effort should be made to have as much diversity in the training team as possible (e.g. gender identities, key populations etc. represented). It is an essential pre-requisite that trainers have completed a training of trainer before delivering TeenGen (including training on child safeguarding). This both builds their knowledge and confidence to deliver participatory activities as intended and builds their understanding of safeguarding considerations required (see points below).
It is useful to consider inviting guest speakers to help deliver some activities, particularly those aiming to familiarize participants with service providers. Speakers should be identified and invited during TeenGen preparations. Further guidance is provided in the Facilitator tips throughout this manual.
It is important for facilitators to work with participants to establish a ‘safe space’ in which to deliver TeenGen. This means creating a friendly, inclusive and respectful atmosphere in which participants, in all their diversity, feel welcome and safe to share their views or questions without fear of judgement, stigma or silencing.
Use Activity 1.3 Setting shared agreements to establish group agreements about the importance of including everyone and protecting privacy and confidentiality. Be clear about what is appropriate to share and/or disclose in the group space and what should be kept private or saved for disclosure in a more private setting (e.g. between a facilitator and the individual). The training does not require participants to disclose their own experiences, as this may not be appropriate in front of the group. Rather, it uses the notion of ‘protective distancing’, providing hypothetical examples and scenarios as the focus for learning.
Facilitators a critical role in ensuring the privacy of the participants. For example, if someone is about to speak inappropriately about someone else, a facilitator can interrupt and remind the person speaking. This is called ‘protective interrupting’. For example, the facilitator can say, ‘Before you continue, can you tell that story without revealing who the person is by not saying their name or by referring to them as a third person?’.
Using acceptable, appropriate, and inclusive language is vital. Respectful language affirms the dignity and identity of participants and creates a safe and inclusive learning space. It is important to recognize that the language used to describe sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression and sex characteristics (SOGIESC) varies greatly across the world and is dependent on factors such as location, language, age and cultural references.
Some useful advice is to always use the pronouns, terms and language that participants themselves use to identify their gender, sexual orientation, and personal experiences. Invite all participants (and facilitators) to introduce their personal pronouns (these could also be displayed on name badges). Avoid making assumptions about individuals’ identities and experiences.
Facilitators and participants should refrain from using language that reinforces stigma, stereotypes, or negative perceptions. Be sensitive to the cultural context and the potential impact of certain words or phrases. In addition, try to use gender-neutral whenever possible. For example, instead of addressing a group with ‘ladies and gentlemen’, opt for ‘everyone’ or ‘participants.’
Adolescents and young people from key populations in many countries are subject to laws that criminalize same-sex relationships, sex work and drug use, and age-of-consent laws that prevent access to HIV or sexual and reproductive health services.
Decisions on the content of the training, the age of participants invited and the training venue must take the local situation into account, and programmes must be planned with the safety of participants and facilitators prioritized.
Some information provided in activities will need to be adapted to reflect the local legal and policy context. For example, the legal age of consent to access certain health services varies across countries. Even where local law clashes with human rights, it is essential to give correct information to participants so as not to put them at risk or give them a false impression of accessibility of services.
Throughout this manual, coaching is provided in activities that may have potential legal implications. These activities should be reviewed and adapted by someone familiar with the local legal and policy context before delivery.
Many adolescents from key populations are traumatized by repeated experiences of stigma and discrimination or by violence they have experienced. To create a safe and supportive learning environment, it is crucial to adopt a trauma-informed approach. This approach ensures that the content and methods used do not inadvertently re-traumatize participants.
When implementing a trauma-informed approach, facilitators begin by recognizing the effects of trauma and its potential impact on participants’ learning and behaviour. During the training, facilitators should consistently reflect on participants’ behaviours, considering what they might communicate about their experiences. By doing so, facilitators can adapt content that may be upsetting, provide protective interruption if participants are struggling and offer appropriate support to those who might be dealing with trauma. This could mean offering options to opt-out of a game or activity, creating spaces for open dialogue, and allowing participants to take breaks when needed. A trauma-informed approach focuses on creating an environment where participants’ feelings and needs are acknowledged, fostering a sense of safety and trust.
The target age-group for this training means that in all countries in the region, participants are considered to be children. For this reason, child safeguarding and promotion of safety and well-being are a priority. As well as setting up a safe space to deliver the training, and and establishing clear ground rules (including around privacy), other measures need to be put in place to to ensure the prevention of harm to children, the establishment of robust incident reporting and response mechanisms.
Establish a system for reporting any concerns or disclosures related to safety, abuse, or harassment. One approach is to designate two or three trusted ‘safeguarding focal points’ who participants can approach with confidence. Make sure that participants are well-informed about their rights and provided with clear instructions on how to report concerns or incidents they may encounter during or after the training. Activity 1.5 Support Stars is designed for participants to consider how to look after their own safety and well-being as well as brainstorm a range of help sources.
A ‘trigger warning’ should be provided before activities that include or may include discussion about violence, particularly sexual violence. Trigger warnings provide advance notice to participants about potentially sensitive or triggering content that may be discussed or presented in the activity. This proactive approach allows participants to mentally prepare themselves and, if necessary, take steps to manage their emotional responses. Trigger warnings should include an invitation for those participants who do not wish to participate in the activity to opt-out.
Before the training takes place, identify local support organizations (e.g. adolescent-friendly counselling services or helplines) you can refer participants to for psychosocial support. If possible, ask a representative from the service to visit and speak to participants about the kind of support they can provide. Ensure that participants are referred to support services when needed.
Activity 1.5 Support Stars has been designed to flag the importance of safeguarding with participants and alert them to a range of different sources of help that they can refer to during the training. It is recommended that the facilitation team pre-prepare the Help Sources Handout with information about local services to distribute during this activity. Note that a list of adolescent friendly services can usually be provided by YouthLEAD who have carried out mapping of adolescent friendly services in countries in the region.
Across contexts, there are inevitable pockets of opposition to various activities seeking to empower and educate adolescents and youth about their sexual and reproductive health and rights. Often this opposition comes from a place of misunderstanding about the impact of educating adolescents about sex and relationships. Be prepared to share evidence-based facts that support your cause and provide a strong rationale for TeenGen. This includes clear evidence that teaching adolescents and youth about sexual and reproductive health does not lead to increased risky behaviour or sexual promiscuity (in fact, it has been shown to reduce risky behaviour and reduce sexual initiation). Data highlighting the detrimental impact of HIV and other poor sexual and reproductive health outcomes will also help to provide a rationale for your cause.
The activities and games in TeenGen have been designed to be as resource-light as possible. However, it will be necessary for the training team to dedicate time to preparing some stationary and printed materials before the training. Each activity includes a list of materials needed. A full materials list is provided in Annex 3. Planning materials in advance will allow for more seamless delivery of the training. The training team are advised to clearly label any prepared materials with the Day and
Activity/Game number so they can be easily located when needed.
It is recommended that the facilitation team meet at the beginning and end of each day/session. This enables timing for setting up the room, check all materials are ready and any other preparatory tasks.
There are many activities and games throughout TeenGen. Keeping to time is essential in order to cover all of the content. Being well prepared (e.g. having all materials prepared), arranging a colleague to time-keep and providing timing reminders to participants (e.g. ‘5 minutes left to wrap up your discussion!’) will help facilitators keep to time.
Throughout TeenGen, various activities recommend and link to short AMAZE clips that provide comprehensive information about relevant topics. The use of these resources is optional but recommended. Most AMAZE clips are available in a range of languages. If you are planning to integrate these resources, you will need to arrange appropriate audiovisual equipment. Note that the videos can be downloaaded prior to the training (recommended in case of internet connection issues). Importantly, do not show the videos in isolation from the activities and discussion questions provided. These elements encourage participants to reflect on the videos and think critically about the implications for their lives.
Other digital tools such as interactive Google docs., JamBoard, or polling tools can be used where participants have access to the technology required (e.g. a laptop and connections to Wi-Fi) and where facilitators feel it is appropriate.
It is important to collect feedback on the training. Feedback can be collected during the training to give facilitators an idea of how much people are learning from and enjoying the different activities (see for example Activity 1.12 Making a face; 2.12 One word; and 3.11 Let’s dance). A flipchart at the back of the room can provide a space on which participants can write their comments and a questions box could be provided to invite anonymous questions and feedback. A recommended feedback survey tool is provided in Annex 4 to collect comprehensive feedback post-training.