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MARCH Outcome Evaluation

among never married individuals in the study area.  On the other hand none of the never married respondents who were either moderately-or highly-exposed to the MARCH reported that they were sexually experienced. This finding, very interesting though, should be interpreted with caution. There are at least three possible explanations to this observation; (1) it may well be that these individuals were able to delay sex or abstain from sex as a result of being participated in the MARCH, (2) it is also possible that the MARCH intervention in West Hararghe had attracted more sexually inexperienced youth than the experienced ones and this would create selection bias, and (3) it may well be that those respondents who were participated (exposed) in the MARCH selectively underreported their sexual behavior due to a feeling of shame to  report “undesirable behavior” after learning the many positive aspects of delaying the age at sexual debut through their participation in the MARCH, which would create, what is known in the literature as - social desirability bias. Despite the uncertainties, however, the virtual absence of recent sexual activity (i.e. sex in the last year) among these exposed survey respondents provides some useful indication of the positive influence of the MARCH intervention in promoting sexual abstinence and delaying age at sexual debut among the never married participants of West Hararghe.    

Table 17. Sexual behaviors of never married individuals according to exposure to the MARCH, MARCH outcome survey, Addis Ababa and West Hararghe, May-June 2005

Addis Ababa

Outcome Evaluation

Exposure to MARCH

Not exposed

N=266

Moderately

Exposed

N=211

Highly

Exposed

N=21

Ever had sex  [%]

    All never married

    Never married [aged 15-19 year]

    Never married [aged 20-24 years]

    Never married [Male]

    Never married [Female]     

Ever had sex last year [%]

    All never married

    Never married [aged 15-19 year]

    Never married [aged 20-24 years]

    Never married [Male]

28.9

8.1

46.9

37.9

16.8

18.4

4.9

30.1

25.5

30.3

10.2

51.5

48.8

19.1

18.0

2.8

34.0

33.8

19.1

0.0

36.4

10.0*

27.3

19.1

0.0

36.4

10.0

Addis Ababa and West Hararghe

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