Council Commentary

“My Dreams Cannot Be Broken”— New Documentary Film on Population Council’s Adolescent Girls Empowerment Program

A new 19-minute documentary film and photography series explores how the Adolescent Girls Empowerment Program (AGEP) finds the best ways to help girls in Zambia become the women they aspire to be.

Adolescence is a time when girls have the opportunity to build their foundations for their futures. But for many Zambian girls, adolescence is a time when they face vulnerabilities that they are simply unprepared for. AGEP helps girls overcome the obstacles created by poverty and forge independent, healthy lives for themselves.

The film was made by John Healey, director and photographer, and Natalie Jackson Hachonda, producer.

“Population Council believes that every adolescent girl should have the chance to live with dignity, with respect, and to have the skills and knowledge to forge their own route to a healthy and productive adulthood,” the film explains. “We believe in their future, but most importantly of all, these girls now believe in their own futures.”

Photo credit: John Healey

My Dreams Cannot Be Broken highlights three AGEP interventions — safe spaces, health vouchers, and savings accounts — designed to break the cycle of “planned poverty” that many girls in Zambia face. Safe Spaces – group meetings where girls receive training on topics like life skills, sexual and reproductive health, and financial literacy – help to build trust, self-esteem and new friendships. Health vouchers encourage girls to make use of health services at public and private health clinics. Personal savings accounts teach girls about money management and promotes a culture of savings. The AGEP study is being assessed with a randomized controlled trial, the gold standard of research.

Photo credit: John Healey

The documentary was filmed over the last year in rural and urban communities throughout Zambia and features comments from members of government, community stakeholders and most importantly, girls who participated in the program.

We encourage you to watch the film and share the video with your networks:

 

In addition to the documentary, the Adolescent Girls Empowerment Program released five briefs, which provide more detailed information about preliminary research findings and the AGEP participants at baseline.

 

More photos from the Adolescent Girls Empowerment Program:

Photo credit: John Healey
Photo credit: John Healey
Photo credit: John Healey