Choose Your Intended Audience

Part 2 > Essential Element 3 > Choose Your Intended Audience

I-10_Family-and-peer-networks_v3As a program designer, you may already know what audience segment you are planning to reach. You may have decided on the intended audience during the proposal writing process or in meetings with a program partner. You may be adding an SBCC component to an existing program that already reaches a certain segment of the urban adolescent population. In these cases, you may not need to return to your data sources with the purpose of identifying a new audience.

However, if you have not yet chosen an intended audience, use your data to determine with which segments of the urban adolescent population you want to work.

Ask yourself the following questions:

  • I-6_Older adolescents_v2Which youth groups do I have information about? Look through your data sources and pick out some groups that you have at least some information about. Consider the following:

Do you have enough data about a certain group or groups?

 Could you conduct some of your own research to provide the missing information?

For example: There is often more information available about adolescents that are in school. You may determine that given the capacity of your organization or your partners, reaching in-school adolescents is easiest. However, you may also discover that you can run some informal focus groups with out-of-school adolescents to find out more about their needs and then tailor an intervention for them.


  • With which adolescent groups will your program have the most impact? Consider the following:

 Does the data show that adolescents in school or out of school are most at risk?

 What about adolescents from key populations such as sex workers; those who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and/or questioning (LGBTQ); or injectable drug users?

 Do you have a significant number of married adolescents that you can reach or a community of homeless youth that are vulnerable and not reached by other programs?

Your primary and secondary research can help you find out who the high-risk adolescents are in your city, what their high-risk behaviors are and perhaps what their dreams, aspirations and values are so that you can design effective messages.

  • What is your current capacity and expertise? For example, you may not work with adolescents right now, but you do have a great program for married women. Your research tells you, in your city, there is a large population of married adolescents of which you were unaware. Since you already have a program for married women, you can think about how to use the strengths and expertise you have built through that program and create a new one focused on married adolescents.


  • How does the segmenting decision you make today impact future decision-making? One project cannot reach everyone. Will choosing one group of adolescents now help you launch another project in the future reaching a different group?

For example: Perhaps you want to have a SBCC program that reaches all young men. You know it will be easier to reach adolescent boys who play sports through their sports clubs. You can decide to reach only them now, but to expand the project to boys outside sports clubs in the next three years.

Important Concepts

What data sources should you look at?

You may already have a lot of information relating to your audience or potential audience—from statistics and data from your programs, reports and documents you have developed for donors, or other organizations that work in your field. Other trusted sources of information that you can access to help you design your program include:

  • Global organizations (e.g., UN agencies, international donor governments)
  • International non-governmental health organizations
  • National and community-based organizations
  • Researchers
  • Journals
  • Private sector
  • Government ministries
  • Service delivery organizations

If you want to learn more about information sources and information gathering, you can work through Essential Element 1.

The Worksheet that follows, Worksheet #4: Segmenting Your Audience, will help you answer the above questions. Complete the Worksheet with your data to select the audience or audiences for your SBCC program.

Worksheet #4

Worksheet #4

Segmenting Your Audience

Worksheet #4 Example

Worksheet #4 Example

Segmenting Your Audience: Zanbe