TOP's curriculum, Changing Scenes, provides facilitators with current educational "best practices"—activities and materials that encourage hands-on learning. Mobilizing and empowering individuals, families, and communities in order to reach, influence, and involve everyone to become a part of the solution. For more information, see the Web sites listed in the References below. TOP achieves these goals by interweaving three components: Programs should address values, attitudes, and behaviors in individuals and communities and provide basic facts about preventing pregnancy and STIs, including HIV.
Some programs that have been proven effective or that have shown promise for improving youth's reproductive and sexual health are highlighted here. The books and supplementary materials supported the main purpose of teaching HIV prevention. The messages should continue—regularly, in a timely fashion, and from credible sources. Education and other health promotion efforts must persist over time to ensure that successive cohorts of children and youth achieve sexually healthy adulthood—including protecting themselves from HIV, other STIs, and unintended pregnancy. Respect and understanding will ensure that a program is acceptable to and appropriate for participants. Instability and adversity are normal conditions for many young people, and their vulnerability to sexual health risks can increase significantly during crises. Increasing self-esteem Promoting a more positive and hopeful view of the future, such as by providing employment training or encouraging microenterprise Increasing youth's ability to resist pressure Encouraging sexually inexperienced youth to delay the onset of sexual intercourse Encouraging sexually experienced youth to decrease the incidence of unprotected sexual intercourse and to reduce the number of sexual partners. Many teachers were trained, and many schools throughout Zimbabwe implemented the program; however, a constant need for additional training and support underscored that maintaining large initiatives requires long-term commitment and significant, continuing technical input. Changing Scenes' approach is interactive, age-appropriate, affective expressing emotion , and adaptable to a variety of group settings. Child survival and health-seeking behavior rates were also higher among married alumnae than among married controls. Participation fosters a sense of ownership that, in turn, enhances sustainability. Five key areas of focus can assist planners in optimizing programs' quality and outcomes. Involving youth and adults will ensure that programs meet the specific needs and concerns of a community's youth in a culturally and socially appropriate way. Preventing Teen Pregnancy and Academic Failure: Ensure that programs continue in an orderly sequence and progress over time, building on earlier efforts. Life skills education programs can also be effective in preventing school dropout and violence among young people. Conduct research to identify credible sources and pertinent data, choose the most effective and relevant strategies, and adapt effective programs whenever possible. For example, young people need to hear messages about sexual and reproductive health from an early age. The life skills approach is an interactive, educational methodology that not only focuses on transmitting knowledge but also aims at shaping attitudes and developing interpersonal skills. Promote healthy behavior so young adults can successfully achieve their life goals. The most common teaching methods include working in groups, brainstorming, role-playing, story telling, debating, and participating in discussions and audiovisual activities. Frequently, policy makers and other leaders lack knowledge of adolescent sexual health issues and of current rates of adolescent pregnancy, STIs, and HIV infection. These lessons are also applicable to a wide range of sexual and reproductive health programs for youth. TOP can be implemented in schools or as part of a community program. Research demonstrates that possessing life skills may be critical to young people's ability to positively adapt to and deal with the demands and challenges of life. Help youth acquire the skills necessary to developing and sustaining healthy, happy lives.
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