Girl Centered Programming: What Are We Really Doing?

Interagency Youth Working Group

One in eight people in the world today is female and between the ages of 10 and 24. Adolescence is a critical period, when a girl’s future potential and opportunities can flourish through education, economic opportunities, and psychosocial support. Or, that potential can be stunted and stifled by the irreversible effects of child marriage, early pregnancy, HIV, and other preventable hardships. By intervening to counter risks that exist and by promoting positive relationships and behaviors for girls, we are investing in the women and leaders of our future.

There is increasing attention from international donors and program implementers to the need for an approach to youth health and development that highlights girl’s multifaceted needs across sectors such as education, economic empowerment, health, and democracy and governance.  USAID’s recently released “Youth in Development” policy emphasizes the need for an integrated approach to improving outcomes for adolescent girls and provides guidance on pursuing innovative and cost-effective approaches to empowering adolescent girls to contribute to and benefit from their countries’ development efforts. The Coalition for Adolescent Girls, the Youth Health and Rights Collation, and the Interagency Youth Working Group also advocate for multisectoral approaches to improve adolescent girls’ health and development.

We can only do so much to improve access to education or build economic opportunities, for example, if we are not also helping protect young people from HIV, treating those living with HIV, or preventing early and unintended pregnancy. We must work toward a generation of young people healthy enough to enjoy the benefits they might reap from other development opportunities. The purpose of this e-forum is to discuss the importance of a multisectoral approach that includes sexual and reproductive health as well as other components to improve outcomes among adolescent girls as well as to share and exchange knowledge across countries to inform and transform practice in this area.

Discussion Topics:

You can submit questions and comments beginning at 9 AM Eastern Standard Time (EST) on February 27 through 5 PM EST on 28, 2013.  You can participate in the discussion—before, during, and after the e-forum—on Twitter (#girlsatthecenter)