Research Spotlight

How to Give Adolescent Girls Voice, Choice, and Control

Photo credit: Photo by Phil Borges/Population Council

At the Stanford Social Innovation Review, Council researchers and Miriam Temin, Sajeda Amin, Thoai Ngo, and Stephanie Psaki unveiled a practical framework for designing and implementing programs that center around girls’ diverse needs, address multiple determinants of risk, and empower girls and improve their lives.

The framework contains seven core programmatic components – combining girls’ groups, safe space, mentors, gender and power content, economic empowerment, referral networks, and community engagement – and four key delivery approaches – such as intentional design and learner-centered pedagogy – to ensure programs reach the right girls with the right content at the right time. The aim is to provide a practical, multi-sectoral framework to help both decision makers and doers effectively empower girls and harness the potential of the largest-ever generation of adolescents.

The framework builds on decades of work from the Population Council, which has been developing evidence-based approaches to improve the lives of adolescent girls for several decades. We have pioneered the asset-building approach and have developed practical tools and resources to strengthen girl-centered programming.

The framework contains seven core programmatic components and four delivery approaches that can help programs reach the right girls with the right content at the right time. It recognizes that girls cannot create transformational social change on their own. Indeed, factors such as gender-equitable policies, poverty reduction, education reforms, and other systemic changes influence girls’ transitions to adulthood, and can enable, amplify, or hinder the effects of empowerment programming. The framework takes account of this by reflecting a socio-ecological perspective, situating girl-centered programs within families, communities, and countries.

Read more at SSIR. Learn more about the Council’s work on Adolescent Girl Empowerment here.