3.4.2 Customize integration of health and economic empowerment program components

Organizations that have successfully integrated health and economic empowerment program components emphasize the importance of customizing program design rather than simply adding health or economic components to a pre-existing program. This customization should take into account the key sexual and reproductive health (SRH) and economic outcomes that impact participants. For example, the Siyakha Nentsha program (See “Build girls’ social, health, and economic capabilities.”) operates in an area with high HIV prevalence, high secondary school attendance, and relatively few entrepreneurial opportunities, thus the program pursues a school-based approach, works with both boys and girls, seeks to impact sexual behaviors, and includes a financial capabilities component.  CARE, a leading humanitarian organization fighting global poverty, and the International Center for Research on Women (ICRW), a global research institute whose mission is to empower women, advance gender equality, and fight poverty in the developing world, developed integrated programming for girls in Ethiopia. They found that the economic empowerment of girls also changes the way their parents perceive their role and contributions to the family.

Practical Tips: ICRW and the TESFA Program on Integrating Programming

CARE and ICRW collaborate on a program targeting Amhara, a region with the highest rates of child marriage in Ethiopia, where girls may be married as early as age ten, through the TESFA program (meaning “hope.”).

Key learnings to date include:

  • Economic content makes SRH content more attractive because having the savings and loans encourages participation and motivates family members to keep sending girls
  • Integration must be customized, not simply additive
  • Most significant changes initially are psychological and social

The following diagram illustrates the synergies between the Village Savings and Loan (VSLA) component of the TESFA program and health outcomes.

For more information about TESFA, see http://www.icrw.org/media/news/out-shadows-child-marriage-ethiopia-1