Thrasher Research Fund - Medical research grants to improve the lives of children

Project Details

Early Career

Status: Funded - Open

MAISHA-Youth!: Gender equity and empowerment to prevent violence among adolescents

Lindsey Reif, DrPH


BACKGROUND: Intimate partner violence (IPV) frequently begins in adolescence with nearly 30% of girls ages 15-19 years reporting having experienced IPV worldwide. IPV results in increased lifetime risk for poor physical and mental health outcomes including HIV acquisition, anxiety and depression, and most tragically, an estimated 8.8 excess deaths per 100,000 young women perpetrated by intimate partners. GAP: Adolescence is a critical developmental period when fundamental attitudes and beliefs about gender roles within partnerships and acceptance of IPV are established, but evidence for interventions to address IPV in adolescents is extremely limited both in Tanzania and worldwide. In partnership with an adolescent advisory board, we will adapt two evidence-based interventions to develop and pilot a gender empowerment intervention—MAISHA-Youth!—to impact: 1) acceptance of and beliefs related to IPV and 2) experience or perpetration of IPV. HYPOTHESIS: We hypothesize that MAISHA-Youth! will improve adolescents’ beliefs around gender equity, decrease their acceptance of IPV, and decrease past year experience of IPV among adolescent girls and perpetration of IPV among adolescent boys. METHODS: We will use mixed methods to adapt a training seminar for community leaders to address gender equity and IPV and the gender empowerment curriculum to be appropriate for adolescents in Tanzania, and pilot-test the MAISHA-Youth! intervention in 2 communities in Tanzania. Participants will include adolescent girls and boys, ages 14-17, recruited from existing social groups, such as sports teams, church choirs, or farming co-ops in order to leverage existing social bonds. RESULTS: Pending. IMPACT: Our long-term goal is to decrease IPV among adolescents, preventing a cycle of perpetuated violence and the associated negative health outcomes they would experience into young adulthood. Promoting gender equity and empowerment during these formative years has the potential to prevent IPV for a lifetime.

Supervising Institution:
Weill Cornell Medicine

Joyce Wamoyi

Project Location:
Tanzania, United States

Award Amount: