3.1.1 Build capacity, develop leaders, and create networks in order to strengthen civil society’s capacity to advocate for and with girls
The Adolescent Girls’ Advocacy and Leadership Initiative (AGALI) is implemented by the Public Health Institute (PHI), an organization that promotes health, well-being, and quality of life through research, training, and community building, with support from the United Nations Foundation. AGALI works to build a movement for adolescent girls. The program seeks to improve education, health, and economic outcomes for girls by strengthening civil society capacity to advocate for policies, programs, and funding benefitting adolescent girls.
Currently in its fourth year of implementation, AGALI’s primary strategies include building the capacity of local organizations to advocate through: intensive week-long training workshops for competitively-selected AGALI Fellows, dissemination of best practices in programs and policies for adolescent girls, and political analysis and policy formulation. Through a guided facilitation process, AGALI Fellows develop their own advocacy strategies to advance adolescent girl’s rights, which they then submit to PHI as part of a competitive funding process. Through seed grants, PHI supports innovative advocacy strategies and provides technical assistance throughout the advocacy process and assistance with dissemination and outreach trainings.
AGALI Fellows’ advocacy successes include:
- Passage of a national Children’s Law in Liberia, guaranteeing girls’ rights
- Passage of two policies in Guatemala to promote teen pregnancy prevention and services for girls
- Expansion of girl-centered programs and budgets at the local level
- Implementation of a national Sexual Violence Protocol, with integrated care for adolescent girl survivorsCollaboration with village chiefs in Malawi to institute penalties for practitioners of child marriage
- Creation of national networks in Honduras and Malawi whose goal is advocacy for adolescent girls’ rights
AGALI identified ways that organizations can promote the wellbeing of marginalized adolescent girls. In exploring what your organization can do to promote AGYW, consider the following:
- Empower adolescent girls to advocate for themselves. Girls know their needs better than anyone else.
- Encourage direct service organizations to look at the broader policy panorama. With proper training and support, direct service organizations are well placed to advocate.
- Target the media. This increases the effectiveness and reach of advocacy.
- Use advocacy networks to extend your reach. Advocacy networks of 10 or 20 organizations can enable organizations to mobilize significant national support.
- Engage in open dialogue with leaders. Many think that advocacy is a combative process, but if you facilitate open conversations, leaders become more open and willing to listen.
- Realize that advocacy doesn't end with passing a law or policy. It’s equally important to follow budget allocation and subsequent implementation.
For more information, see http://agaliprogram.org/. See also, “Support adolescent girls to advocate for themselves.”