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Tender: Literature Review on Sexual Behavior of Unmarried Young Persons in Asia Pacific

Multiple destinations, 18 September 2015


The United Nations is exploring the extent to which the sexual behavior of unmarried young persons, in the Asia Pacific Region, has been studied, surveyed and documented in leading and subsidiary publications, websites and other information sharing platforms.

Several studies have been published in the past including Brown et al’s 2001 paper on “Sexual relations among young people in developing countries: evidence from WHO case studies” and Marston & King’s paper on “Factors that shape young people’s sexual behavior: a systematic review”, (Lancet 2006; 368: 1581–86) but none have focused specifically on Asia Pacific.

Although Asia-Pacific is the most populous region in the world, little systematic information is currently readily available about the sexual behavior of the estimated 831 million unmarried young people aged between 10-24 years old in the countries in UN’s Asia Pacific Region. The majority of national data available are focused on married young people.

Other smaller studies have been conducted within countries and reported as part of national or regional information sources . APRO is also developing a regional report on SRH of young people in Asia Pacific which has highlighted the lack of national level studies of unmarried young people and the need to consolidate the information from smaller sub-national studies. Information on the sexual behavior of unmarried young people is considered sensitive in some communities and initially obtaining this data may be difficult. Government ministries, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and academic institutions may have also conducted work in this area but the results are within the grey literature.

Therefore APRO is seeking a review of the available literature and the information base that exists documenting the sexual behavior of unmarried young people in Asia and the Pacific. While there may be a body of work on this that was conducted in the 1980s and the 1990s, APRO’s current interest is in work that has been carried out since 2005.


The objective of this consultancy is to identify literature that is available from academic journals, UN and development partners’ publications, PhDs and grey literature, in English, on the sexual behavior (including relevant knowledge, attitudes and practices) of young unmarried people in Asia Pacific. The collected information should include references to both in-school and out-of-school young persons as well as young persons from as varied a geographical location as possible. There are no restrictions on the type or classification of sexual behavior that needs to be researched.

For the purposes of this literature review only articles published on youth sexual behavior in Asia Pacific since 2005 should be included. The definition of Asia Pacific for APRO extends from Iran in the west to the Cook Islands, in the Pacific, in the east and from Mongolia and DPR Korea in the north to Tonga, in the Pacific, in the south. For the purposes of this consultancy young persons will be considered to be those between the ages of 10 and 24, of all genders.

Description of Duties

UN APRO is calling for an experienced consultant or a team to conduct a desk review of articles published in standard literature such as (but not exclusively in) Culture, Health and Sexuality, Reproductive Health Matters, Sociology of Health and Illness, Lancet, BMJ, Archives of Sexual Behavior, AIDS Care, and Social Science and Medicine. The consultant is also encouraged to search relevant on-line and library-based databases for articles. These should include BIDS:IBSS, BIDS: Ingenta, PsycInfo via Ovid, PubMed (NLM), CINAHL via Ovid, Ovid journals, Ovid Medline, Books via Ovid, Web of Science, EMBASE via Ovid, Science Direct, Cochrane Reviews, Thomson Reuters and Anthropology plus.

The consultant/team will identify, collect, compile references on and synthesize the published and grey literature, including but not limited to literature that is available from UN, INGOs and NGO websites, in English, on the sexual behavior (including relevant knowledge, attitudes, and practices) of young people in countries in Asia Pacific. The review should include all types of sexual practices among unmarried young people of all sexual orientations.

Expected Deliverables

A synthesis report no longer than 30 pages, that summarizes the current status of and evidence for sexual behavior in young unmarried persons in countries in Asia Pacific covering the following key topics:

  • The nature and scope of the studies by countries and types of knowledge, attitudes (young people themselves and the community) and behavior and SRH outcomes described;

  • The existence of any multi-country, sub-regional or national or subnational studies on the sexual behavior of unmarried young persons;

  • Recommendations on significant gaps in the literature that need to be addressed.

The synthesis report should consist of three parts.

  • A short analytical report of SRH of unmarried young people in the region.

  • A summary country by country of available information on SRH of unmarried young people, indicating gaps in information.

  • An annex which is a summary table listing all the references that were surveyed, as well as key information about each source. A non-exhaustive list of key information for each publication should include, for example: title, authors, year of publication, type of publication and publisher (e.g. journal name), geographical coverage (e.g. name of region, country (ies) or subnational unit(s) that are covered in the original publication), descriptors of the population of study (e.g. age group, sexual orientation, etc.), key findings and other relevant information. This list is only for illustrative purposes. The actual list of fields to be collected will be determined in collaboration with APRO during the inception period of the consultancy.

The inclusion and exclusion criteria of studies to be included in the report will also be determined in collaboration with APRO during the development of the inception report. The list of potential criteria will be chosen according to current best practices for literature reviews (e.g. those utilized in Cochrane Reviews) and may include, for example: national representativeness, minimum sample size, specific focus on unmarried youth SRH, “uniqueness” within the country context, etc. The review will be restricted to publications based on original data collected since 2008.

It is estimated that the assignment would be completed within a period of eight weeks starting in mid October 2015.

Countries: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, Timor-Leste, Fiji, India, Indonesia, Iran, Laos, Malaysia, Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Vietnam. 


Submission Deadline: 9 October 2015

Also view the ECN Procurement Notice (accessible by ECN Executive Members - Login to View)

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