Young Health Programme Brazil (phases 1 and 2)


Phase 1: Five municipalities in the State of Maranhão in northern Brazil.

Phase 2: The districts of Capão Redondo and Grajaú in the southern outskirts of São Paulo city.


Phase 1: 2010 – 2015

Phase 2: 2017 – 2020

The local context

Phase 1: Over 40% of the population living in the State of Maranhão are under the age of 19 and its poverty rates are the highest in the national Human Development Index. Maranhão also has the second highest ranking of child labour, with 240,000 children and adolescents working in the streets.

Phase 2: São Paulo is the most populous city in the western hemisphere, the southern hemisphere and in Brazil.

Our objectives

Phase 1: To reach 60,000 adolescents in the five municipalities over 5 years and indirectly influence a population of over 115,000 including policy makers, educators, health professionals and communities where these adolescents live.

Phase 2: To reach 40,000 young people (aged 10-24) directly and, through and with them, families, policy makers, teachers and health professionals.

Our focus

To reduce NCD risk behaviours (tobacco use, harmful use of alcohol, unhealty diet and physical inactivity) and raise awareness and understanding of adolescent health.  This work includes a focus on sexual and reproductive health and rights as well as a focus on gender.

Our programme

Phase 1:

Launched in Maranhão in November 2010, the programme empowered young people to drive change themselves by training them to become opinion leaders who engage and inform their peers on their rights in terms of health issues.  The programme also promoted adolescent participation in public policy campaigns to improve services.  To ensure sustainability, work was done in close collaboration with schools and stakeholders, including parents, Community Health Agents and health service providers. 

Phase 2:

Launched in São Paulo in July 2017, the programme was run in close cooperation with local schools and health service providers - and primarily delivered through peer-educators trained to engage and communicate with other young people about these health issues.

Peer-educators were trained and encouraged to engage with local and State officials to improve health services for young people. Radio spots and news articles support on the ground programme and campaign activities.

The programme built on achievements and learning from Phase 1 which was delivered in Maranhão.

Our achievements

Phase 1:  The programme reached more than 93,000 young people with health information, including 527 young people who were trained as Peer Educators.  It also reached more than 630,000 members of the wider community, including 1,604 healthcare workers, 431 parents and more than 1,500 teachers. 

Phase 2:  The programme reached more than 37,000 young people directly with health information and trained more than 480 young people as Peer Educators. It also engaged directly with more than 890 members of the wider community, including teachers, parents, healthcare workers and government representatives.

Our partners

Our primary partner for YHP Brazil (Phase 1 and 2) is Plan International Brazil

In Phase 1, Plan International Brazil worked in Maranhão partnership with Promundo, a Brazilian non-governmental organisation that promotes gender equality and seeks to end violence against women, children and youth.

In Phase 2, Plan International Brazil implemented YHP interventions in São Paulo in close collaboration with several civil society and government stakeholders to optimise impact and sustainability.