Bridging the Gaps Flex Fund: Young, Wild and Free

Bridging the Gaps Flex Fund: Young, Wild and Free


With its focus on young key populations, the project contributes to result areas 1 and 4 as defined by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for their SRHR Partnerships 2016-2020, and to the Bridging the Gaps goals and outcomes.

The project has the following key objectives:
1. To contribute to the body of knowledge on how best to reach and engage young key population members and to design culturally and age-appropriate services;
2. To further disseminate and implement normative guidance and best practices to reach and serve young key population members;
3. To promote network building among young key population members and allow them to learn about their rights and to advocate to fulfil these rights;
4. To increase demand for and uptake of services among young key population members by upscaling tailor-made youth services and ensuring that ‘traditional’ services become young key population friendly.

Project details

Time frame
01 August 2019 - 31 October 2021
€ 1,246,500
Active in

Community groups

This project focuses on young people (over 18 years old), young people who sell sex (under 18 years old), and people who use drugs and LGBT people between the ages of 15-24. All activities are both led by or created by meaningfully involving young key population communities and it focuses on increasing service uptake by and the quality of services for young key populations. Young people under the age of 18 who engage in transactional sex, minors who use drugs, and young LGBT people are faced with additional social, economic and legal barriers to accessing SRHR/HIV services. These barriers will be mapped and recommendations will be developed for appropriate (preventative) responses that take into account the sensitivities of working with and for these groups.


In the second phase of Bridging the Gaps (2016-2020) we started age-disaggregating data and we gained more insight into the extent to which partners in Bridging the Gaps reach young members of key populations. Across the programme, 30% of people who use services offered by Bridging the Gaps partners are 24 and younger. In a number of countries, youth comprises a larger part of service users, such as Kenya wherein 2018 alone partners reached 23.940 sex workers aged 18-24 with services; Ukraine, where a tailored programme for young people who use drugs reached 7.630 youth between 15-24 and Vietnam, where partners reached 6.603 young LGBT people in 2018. Involvement of young people in the design and monitoring of services and youth-focused, and often youth-led, approaches, have resulted in services that are available and accessible for young people. And consequently, in more uptake. Based on these experiences, we are able to learn from good practices, and to share, adapt, and scale up these practices in other locations and countries. We have reached a tipping point: the momentum is perfect to further invest in youth-friendly services.

To increase both demand for and uptake of SRHR/HIV services by young key populations, systematic research into youth programming and the development and scale-up of youth-specific approaches is needed. The experience and data we have tells us that we not only need to address the service gap for young people, we also have the capacity to do so. A focused set of interventions, building on good practices developed in the past years, along with the necessary recourses, will enable us to make this a success and scale our reach of young key populations with appropriate services. The proposed project seizes the moment and will give our youth work a much needed extra push.

Do you work with young key populations? Check out our resource page!

To increase both the demand for and uptake of SRHR and HIV services by young key populations, systematic research into youth programming and the development and scale-up of youth-specific approaches are needed. Through diverse projects with partners who work with young key populations, new research data was gathered, tailored interventions tested and success stories scaled up. Check them out on our young key populations resource page!


Other projects within the programme

Bridging the Gaps Flex Fund: Young, Wild and Free

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