In this paper, we reflect on the ethical issues encountered during our work with youth as researchers in a sexual and reproductive health research project in Ethiopia and Uganda. This study was carried out as the research component of a comprehensive sexuality (CSE) education project implemented by Save the Children International and their local partners in both countries. The formative research had the aim of understanding the contextual realities and gendered social norms that structure sexual behavior and practice of very young adolescents and youth in the study contexts. We examine the dilemmas and “labor” of doing research with youth within a discursive and “expert” led adolescent sexuality and reproductive health intervention regime and at the same time position the role of our “adult expert gaze.” We also reflect on the research methodology we adopted of working with youth as peer researchers and the tensions in enhancing as well as accessing youth voice. We argue that while research with young people requires that researchers observe specific ethical guidelines, the concept of “a youth researcher” positioned within specific expert discourses may be unsettling and presents further quandaries. We argue that these tensions have to be constantly negotiated.

Additional Metadata
Persistent URL
Journal Childhood in Africa
Ngutuku Mulongo, E.M, & Okwany, L.A. (2017). Youth as researchers: Navigating generational power issues in adolescent sexuality and reproductive health research. Childhood in Africa, 4(1), 70–82. Retrieved from