Improving Asset-Building Programs for Adolescent Girls

The Council is helping to strengthen the capacity of NGOs, UN country teams, and government agencies to design, implement, and evaluate effective programs that build health, social, and economic assets for adolescent girls.

The Issue

Investing in girls is not only the right thing to do, it’s the smart thing to do. Adolescent girls are central to the world’s social, health, and economic development. Yet, while investment in adolescent girls is increasing, policies and large-scale programs to ensure that girls get the resources they need do not exist. This leaves a wide gap between what is legally promised and what is practically achieved.

The Population Council is helping to build the capacity of NGOs, UN country teams, and government agencies to develop effective health, social, and economic asset-building programs for the 500 million adolescent girls in the developing world who lack the skills and resources to protect themselves and advance their lives.

The Progress

The Council provides one-on-one technical support and sponsors hands-on and web-based workshops about adolescent girls’ programs to a competitively selected group of organizations. The workshops build skills to create effective girls’ programs, facilitate proposal development, and help NGOs and governments structure programs to more effectively reach and benefit vulnerable girls.

The Population Council also provides user-friendly tools that assist NGOs, UN country teams, governments, program managers, and advocates in developing targeted programs and policies to address the needs of the most neglected adolescents. All of these resources improve understanding about the circumstances and needs of adolescents and can be used to design interventions based on fact rather than assumption. These tools include:

  • country-specific adolescent data guides, based on the most recent demographic data for each country;
  • instructions on conducting a coverage exercise, a low-cost, rapid-assessment tool to identify those who are reached by programs or services;
  • toolkits that outline step-by-step approaches for designing, implementing, and evaluating girls’ programs;
  • recommendations for program approaches that quickly and effectively improve girls’ lives;
  • curriculum guides on a variety of topics, from reproductive health to financial literacy; and
  • tools for monitoring and evaluating programs for girls.

The Impact

The Council’s efforts have helped to shape policies and programs around the world to improve girls’ lives. In Rwanda, the Council laid the foundation for the government’s public commitment to a national program to reach all girls with needed health services by age 12. Programs in Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Zambia, Guatemala, South Africa, Upper Egypt, and elsewhere are being scaled up based on evidence and are extending their content into building adolescent girls’ assets.

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