Existence of supportive adolescent and youth sexual and reproductive health policies

This indicator is a composite index measuring the ex­tent to which the overall policy environment in a coun­try supports adolescent and youth sexual and reproductive health (AYSRH) concerns. The index assesses the existence of:

  • Policy or legislation recognizing the rights of adolescents, including unmarried adolescents, to receive reproductive health (RH) services;
  • A formal policy setting a minimum age for mar­riage;
  • Policies prohibiting sexual exploitation and/or violence;
  • Policy or legislation authorizing sexual-RH education in schools (or lack of restrictive policies or legislation);
  • Permission for pregnant adolescents to continue their education;
  • Policy or legislation authorizing sales of con­traceptives to youth in both the public and com­mercial sectors;
  • Public health sector service delivery guidelines mandating the provision of all RH services to all adolescents; and
  • Government authorization of media campaigns on ARH issues.

Evaluators score the index by assigning a value of 2 when the policy environment fully satisfies a given con­dition, 1 when it partially satisfies the condition, and 0 when it fails to satisfy the condition.


Evidence of the presence or absence of each of the items included in the index.

Evaluators may want to disaggregate by the following age ranges: 10-14, 15-19, and 20-24.


Government documents or other means of verifying the existence of relevant policies, legislation, or regulations; interviews with government officials and key informants


As is the case for family planning programs, a favor­able (or at least not hostile) policy environment is es­sential for the operation and expansion of AYSRH programs. Although few countries have explicitly restrictive policies, because of the so­cial sensitivity surrounding AYSRH issues, many coun­tries lack formal policies regarding the provision of RH information and services to youth. The absence of for­mal policies permits administrators and service provid­ers to impose restrictions based on their personal be­liefs that prohibit youth from gaining access to essen­tial information and services. This indicator measures whether formal policies that enable and support the pro­vision of RH information and services to youth have been enacted.


Because educators and service delivery staff have personal biases toward and discom­fort in addressing AYSRH issues, the mere existence of policies does not guaran­tee the implementation of those policies. Evaluators may expand the indicator to include scores on the ex­tent to which each policy is actually being implemented. A separate indicator measures the actual availability of and access to relevant information and services by youth.


policy, women's status, adolescent, index
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