Improving livelihoods and gender equitable attitudes of street-connected young people

Embleton L, DiRuggiero E, Logie C, Ayuku D, Braitstein P. “Improving livelihoods and gender equitable attitudes of street-connected young people in Eldoret, Kenya: results from a pilot evidence-based intervention”. Health and Social Care in the Community, Health Soc Care Community. 2020 Jul 7. doi: 10.1111/hsc.13086. Online ahead of print. PMID: 32633059

Abstract: Street‐connected young people (SCY) in Eldoret, Kenya, experience substantial gender inequities, economic marginalization and are highly vulnerable to acquiring HIV. This study sought to explain and explore how participation in a pilot‐adapted evidence‐based intervention, Stepping Stones and Creating Futures, integrated with matched savings, changed SCY’s economic resources, livelihoods and gender equitable attitudes. We piloted our adapted intervention using a convergent mixed‐methods design measuring outcomes pre‐ and post‐intervention with 80 SCY in four age‐ and gender‐stratified groups of 20 participants per group (young women aged 16–19 years and 20–24 years, young men aged 16–19 years and 20–24 years). The pilot occurred at MTRH‐Rafiki Centre for Excellence in Adolescent Health in Eldoret, Kenya, from September 2017 to January 2018. Through street outreach, Peer Facilitators created four age‐ and gender‐stratified sampling lists of SCY whom met the eligibility criteria and whom indicated their interest in participating in the intervention during outreach sessions. Simple random sampling was used to select eligible participants who indicated their interest in participating in the intervention. The adapted intervention, Stepping Stones ya Mshefa na Kujijenga Kimaisha , included 24 sessions that occurred over 14 weeks, focused on sexual and reproductive health, gender norms in society, livelihoods and included a matched‐savings programme conditional on attendance. The primary outcome of interest was gender equitable attitudes measured using the Gender Equitable Men scale and secondary outcomes included economic resources and livelihoods. Participants had a significant change in gender equitable attitudes from pre‐ to post‐intervention from 43 (IQR 38–48) to 47 (IQR 42–51) (p  < .001). Quantitatively and qualitatively participants reported increases in daily earnings, changes in street involvement, housing and livelihood activities. Overall, this study demonstrated that the adapted programme might be effective at changing gender equitable attitudes and improving livelihood circumstances for SCY in Kenya.