Assessing adolescent programming in Indonesia

Indonesia’s growing adolescent population is one of the largest in the world.


  • Monica Martinez

Planning for the well-being of Indonesia's adolescent population is a critical intervention area for UNICEF. However, the lack of robust, documented evidence on what works and what does not makes it difficult to identify interventions that are effective in addressing the risks facing many adolescents. Applying an evidence-based methodology is a useful mechanism to understand if and how programming for adolescent well-being works.

To inform UNICEF’s future programme and policy strategy, we designed a framework to measure and assess promising practices in programming for adolescents in Indonesia, and to examine the strategies that were identified as most effective in contributing towards improved outcomes.


In a middle-income country like Indonesia, where development partners like UNICEF are practicing an upstream approach with limited resources, improvements to development planning and monitoring are needed to improve adolescents’ wellbeing. Research is needed to critically review selected adolescent-focused interventions within the broader context of UNICEF's program in Indonesia and the evolving Sustainable Development Goal Agenda 2030 (SDGs).

This study was established to address this issue by developing a conceptual framework and methodology for policy makers and programmers to improve design and implementation on adolescent programming and by drawing out lessons learnt and promising practices in the sector.

Our approach

Before the inception of the project, we developed 11 evidence-based criteria which were derived from a review of literature related to promising practice in human development. The criteria were refined to describe what works to improve the wellbeing of adolescents and to determine if a specific programme is scalable or replicable in each context.

The inception phase comprised a number of stakeholder consultation processes, including a stakeholder workshop and key informant interviews.

The framework was field-tested using a case study approach in two locations: one located close to the capital Jakarta, and one in a remote rural area of Western Indonesia. This data collection was complemented using a virtual platform to engage adolescents through an online poll developed by youth networks.


We created a guide for planning and measuring promising practices for adolescents’ wellbeing: “How do you know what’s good for me? A guide for planning and measuring promising practices in programming for adolescent wellbeing”, describing how to apply the methodology.

This report includes:

  • in-depth case studies of three programmes and light-touch case studies of six additional programmes;
  • promising practices conclusions and recommendations; and
  • a detailed methodology for the data collection phase, including tools and instruments for data collection.

We found that investments are most impactful when that are designed together with young people, have a clear theory of change, and are designed to scale. Results also suggest that UNICEF and its partners concentrate investments in proven interventions which impact on overall adolescent wellbeing. This approach should also be applied to a rigorous 'weeding-out' of programmes that do not have a clearly articulated results chain, with measurable indicators and targets.

Read: How do you know what's good for me? A guide for planning and measuring promising practices in programming for adolescent wellbeing in Indonesia.

Areas of expertise