Population Council Launches New Research Initiative
to Improve Programs for Adolescent Girls
Effort Will Use Implementation Science, Organizational Grants to Build Knowledge and Capacity
NEW YORK (9 October 2013) — The Population Council announced today the launch of RISING, a Research Initiative for Success IN Girl programs. RISING will apply decades of Council research and expertise with adolescent girls to test solutions that address current questions in girl-centered programs. It will also provide funding and technical assistance to partner organizations seeking to improve the success of their girl-centered programs.
There is widespread recognition that investing in adolescent girls in the developing world is critical to the success of key development goals, like reducing poverty and improving global health and education. Studies also show that excluding adolescent girls from school, community participation, and meaningful livelihoods has a substantial negative impact on the health of girls and their families, and on the economic prosperity of their families and communities.
RISING will use implementation science to build upon existing knowledge and refine what is known about girl-centered programs. Implementation science is critical for making evidence-based decisions about how to spend scarce funds most effectively and how to shape policies and programs so that they benefit adolescent girls. It will produce practical, usable knowledge that can improve the effectiveness, efficiency, quality, and sustainability of girl-centered programs. RISING will explore key questions about girl-centered programs, such as how many sessions a girl must attend to achieve a certain level of behavior change, or what types of community-level efforts improve outcomes for girl programs.
“With tens of thousands of adolescent girls now involved in girl-centered programs around the world, the time has come to examine systematically the ways in which program design and implementation can be improved,” said Ann Blanc, a Council vice president and director of its Poverty, Gender, and Youth program. “The Council has a long history of using implementation science to improve reproductive health and HIV and AIDS programs, and we are eager to apply this experience to programs focused on vulnerable adolescent girls.”
A RISING advisory group comprised of donor representatives, independent experts, and Population Council staff members will look for opportunities within existing adolescent girl programs to answer key programmatic questions. High priority will be given to opportunities to add rigorously designed research activities to girl-centered programs. The Council estimates that it will be able to support 7-8 research projects during the next three years. The Council will also offer technical input and support on research design and methodology to recipients of the funds. RISING is made possible by funding from the Nike Foundation and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.
For decades, the Council has been building the world’s largest body of evidence on programs to improve the lives of adolescent girls. Today, more than 42,000 girls in seven countries—Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Guatemala, India, Tanzania, and Zambia—are (or soon will be) participating in Council randomized, controlled trials, the gold standard of research.
“The development field is increasingly committed to improving girls’ health, keeping them safe and in school, and giving them critical information, a say in their own lives, and a strong network of support,” said Population Council president Peter Donaldson. “We are now positioned to boost these efforts. RISING will create a rich body of evidence that we and others will use to advance girl-centered programs.”
About the Population Council
The Population Council confronts critical health and development issues—from stopping the spread of HIV to improving reproductive health and ensuring that young people lead full and productive lives. Through biomedical, social science, and public health research in 50 countries, we work with our partners to deliver solutions that lead to more effective policies, programs, and technologies that improve lives around the world. Established in 1952 and headquartered in New York, the Council is a nongovernmental, nonprofit organization governed by an international board of trustees.
About the Nike Foundation
The Nike Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to investing in adolescent girls as the most powerful force for change in the developing world. The work of the Nike Foundation is supported by NIKE, Inc., and by significant investments from the NoVo Foundation. For more information, visit: www.nikefoundation.org.
About the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation
The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation supports creative people and effective institutions committed to building a more just, verdant, and peaceful world. In addition to selecting the MacArthur Fellows, the Foundation works to defend human rights, advance global conservation and security, make cities better places, and understand how technology is affecting children and society. For more information, visit: www.macfound.org
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