Research Projects

Multi-Media Drug Use and HIV Prevention among Youth in Kazakhstan 

This pilot study adapts and tests the feasibility and estimates the effect size parameters of Kazakhstani Family Together (KFT), a family-based multi-media intervention designed to reduce sexual and drug-related risks for HIV infection among at-risk 14-17 year old females and males living in communities highly affected by heroin trade and use in Almaty, Kazakhstan. The KFT intervention is tested in a Randomized Clinical Trial with 180 adolescents and 180 of their caregivers. Intervention arm adolescent-caregiver pairs will receive three 45-minute interactive multi-media sessions with avatars customized to participants’ gender that will focus on risk reduction self-efficacy, resistance to peer pressure, and caregiver-adolescent communication, support and monitoring.

Funder: National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) Identifier:  NCT01969305

Children and Violence in Burkina Faso

This study evaluates a combined economic empowerment and child rights intervention to prevent violence against children and exploitation of children in ultra-poor communities in Burkina Faso. A three-arm randomized control trial with baseline and one-year follow-up includes 360 households (120 households per arm). Extreme poverty heightens risks of violence and exploitation of children, particularly girls, who may end up in the worst forms of child labor (e.g., slavery, debt bondage, forced or hazardous work in gold mines, cotton fields, or plantations in the Ivory Coast or in the South of Burkina Faso, involving physical deprivation and violence). About 1.25 million (or 37.8%) of children ages 5-14 in Burkina Faso are working to augment the incomes of their families, or because their families are too poor to support them. Adolescent girls being sent away to work as maids, facing risks of sexual exploitation and abuse. Boys being sent to religious schools madrassas, where they are made to do unpaid and/or hazardous work including begging in the street, and are subject to physical abuse. 

Funder: The Children and Violence Evaluation Challenge Fund, a joint initiative funded by Bernard van Leer Foundation, Oak Foundation, UBS Optimus Foundation and an anonymous donor and hosted by the Network of European Foundations (NEF); Child Protection Working Group based at UNICEF (United Nations Children's Fund) Identifier: NCT02415933

Mental Health Prevention Program for Institutionalized Children in Azerbaijan (Families Together / Bütöv Ailə)

This research project aims to adapt a family-based intervention to improve mental health outcomes of children from orphanages in Azerbaijan. Due to the economic crisis following the collapse of the Soviet Union, Azerbaijan hosts an exploding population of “social orphans,” children left by destitute parents in state-run orphanages. Years of separation or loss of parents, traumatic experiences such as physical abuse by orphanage staff, and lack of supportive and caregiving adults often result in severe emotional and behavioral problems among institutionalized children. Currently there are no evidence-based, culturally adapted mental health prevention interventions available for children with a history of institutionalization in Azerbaijan and other former Soviet Union countries. The purpose of the proposed study is to develop a feasible, culturally tailored mental health prevention intervention for institutionalized children reintegrating back into the community. The proposed integrated intervention will combine a mental health prevention intervention with a family economic empowerment component.

Funder: Center for Health Administration Studies, University of Chicago (2014-2016; 2017-2019)