Africa is home to a very youthful population, with 32% aged between 10-24 years. Further, the proportion of young people between the ages of 12-24 years is expected to continue to rise. 1

The Sexual and Reproductive Health (SRH) and concomitant enabling rights of these young people is clearly critical but the reality is that they often face insurmountable barriers in having these needs met. Realising that the generation and uptake of robust and rigorous evidence is critical to informing SRH policy and programming, HEARD has prioritised this research area. This work was recently reviewed at a HEARD seminar for SRH researchers and other key stakeholders. Here, evidence on a range of drivers of SRH outcomes and key SRH interventions in the Eastern and Southern Africa region were analysis. The seminar also served as an opportunity for discussion of the ethical and methodological complexities of undertaking research with marginalised populations and reflect on the relationship between the different SRH actors and translating evidence into policy. Participants were able to engage with the research by HEARD and partner organisations including African Men for Sexual Health and Rights (AMSHeR), Family AIDS Caring Trust (FACT) Zimbabwe, the Department of Basic Education and the MatCH (Maternal Adolescent and Child Health Research) Research Unit (MRU).

Also in attendance was a representative from the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) which, with the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad) make the HEARD programme possible. This year, the programme celebrates a decade of developing expertly qualified African scholars. The current cohort, presented their doctoral research at the seminar.

1: UNFPA (2014) The State of the World Population 2014