USAID Adolescent Girl Strategy Implementation Plan

March 15, 2016


Adolescence should be a time of learning and growing, a time of endless possibility. But for the nearly 600 million girls growing up in the developing world today, adolescence is too often a time when doors close and opportunities are limited. USAID and our community of partners are committed to changing that. When we empower girls with education and opportunity, we help communities thrive and nations prosper. And that makes the world a better place for everyone.

–Gayle Smith, Administrator, USAID

USAID’S COMMITMENT TO ADOLESCENT GIRLS

USAID’s commitment to empowering adolescent girls to reach their full potential is reflected in the Agency’s larger efforts to achieve gender equality and women’s empowerment. The Agency holds decades of experience leading advances for greater gender equality and empowerment that benefit adolescent girls; however, these activities have not been expressed in a comprehensive framework. This implementation plan reflects USAID’s engagement with adolescent girls, aged 10-19, and the Agency’s work to address the diversity of opportunities, possibilities, and challenges that adolescent girls encounter. USAID’s contributions to the U.S. Adolescent Girls Strategy draw from the Agency’s existing gender framework to amplify development efforts that advance gender equality for adolescent girls. In turn, these investments create opportunities for adolescent girls to increase their contributions and ability to benefit from the development of their societies. The sections below highlight the Agency’s attention to developing best practices for strengthening efforts to integrate adolescent girls into programs and interventions, and to ensure their needs are met.

This implementation plan articulates and builds upon existing USAID and U.S. government policies and strategies that address the specific opportunities and challenges facing adolescent girls. The Gender Equality and Female Empowerment Policy that guides the Agency’s work on gender is an integral part of USAID’s policy framework. USAID’s policy framework also includes documents oriented to the particular challenges confronting youth, such as the Youth in Development Poicy; the Ending Child Marriage and Meeting the Needs of Married Children: The USAID Vision for Action; the Counter-Trafficking in Persons Policy; and the U.S Government Action Plan on Children in Adversity. The policy framework also speaks to gender-specific vulnerabilities, including the U.S. Strategy to Prevent and Respond to Gender-based Violence Globally; the National Action Plan on Women, Peace, and Security; USAID’s LGBT Vision for Action; the USAID Multi-Sectoral Nutrition Strategy; and the Agency’s Gender and Extreme Poverty Discussion Paper. Through these documents the Agency addresses impediments, risks, and goals for women throughout their lives, including and especially during adolescence. USAID’s commitment to empowerment, protection, and participation of females and males in their societies is reflected in the principles in the USAID Policy Framework 2011–2015. These principles are consistent with key points made in the 2015 Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review (QDDR), and were developed in conjunction with other related USAID policies.

USAID’s “whole-of-girl” approach encompasses the interconnected events that resonate across a girl’s life from birth to adulthood. The Agency’s programs address the differentiated needs of girls in specific stages of adolescence, recognizing that the challenges young adolescents encounter are distinct from those experienced by older adolescents approaching adulthood. Adolescent girls of all ages are an often overlooked, but fundamental, population for achieving development goals and unlocking the full human potential of societies. Their full participation in development efforts contributes to more sustainable investments to end cycles of poverty; to build resilient, democratic societies; to improve health and nutrition outcomes; and to strengthen economies. Yet the social, legal, health, nutritional, and economic challenges that adolescent girls experience constrain their ability to be self-determining and to realize their human rights.

OPERATIONAL STRUCTURE

Consistent with USAID’s 2012 Gender Equality and Female Empowerment Policy (Gender Policy), addressing adolescent girls’ equality and empowerment is a shared Agency responsibility. Success depends on the commitment of all Agency staff. Over the last three years under the Gender Policy, senior managers, and Mission Directors have been held accountable for ensuring that gender equality and female empowerment are addressed strategically in their portfolios.

Regional bureaus serve as the primary liaison between USAID/Washington and mission Gender Advisors and focal points, and provide information on research findings and programming approaches related to women’s and girls’ empowerment. Pillar bureaus provide guidance on how gender equality and female empowerment can be advanced or achieved through their technical sectors, ensure gender integration in training, and develop related tools and resources.

The Office of Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment (GenDev) within the Bureau for Economic Growth, Education, and the Environment (E3) not only provides guidance to E3 sectors, but also coordinates Agency-level communications, training, and technical assistance support. The Office of the Administrator uses the power of that office to highlight the importance of gender equality and female empowerment as key development objectives. Within the Administrator’s Office, the Senior Coordinator for Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment spearheads the advancement of U.S. development assistance efforts to serve and empower women and ensure gender equality goals are met. The Bureau for Policy, Planning, and Learning tracks the implementation of the Gender Policy at the Agency level and ensures that gender equality and female empowerment objectives and results are incorporated into Agency-wide policies and strategies.

As articulated in the Gender Policy, Gender Advisors and focal points based at headquarters and in USAID’s missions around the world support their respective operating units to advance this effort. Accompanying the Gender Policy, detailed policy implementation guidance (in ADS 205) outline the core practices for USAID staff. These include gender integration throughout the program cycle, mandatory country-level and project-level gender analyses, and inclusion of gender in solicitation documents and activity monitoring and evaluation. As a result, there has been high demand from missions for technical assistance and training to help support Policy implementation. In response, USAID has been, and will continue, training all staff about gender issues via a suite of in-person and online trainings, increasing in-house expertise and using internal and external technical experts. The Agency also developed additional training and resources on how to integrate GBV prevention and response, as well as women, peace, and security objectives into USAID’s work across sectors. To strengthen coordination, information, and resource sharing, USAID utilizes its gender working groups, which include representatives of various bureaus and offices across the Agency.

While the Gender Policy provides an important framework through which the Agency structures its approach to adolescent girls, USAID’s Youth in Development Policy establishes the Agency’s efforts to mainstream youth programs and priorities. The new Youth Coordinator position is proposed to provide leadership and oversight for the Agency’s implementation of USAID’s Youth in Development Policy. The Coordinator is responsible for youth development issues, advocating for and integrating youth into Agency initiatives, overseeing policy coherence, supporting implementation and training, and serving as a senior representative on youth issues in the interagency and external community in coordination with bureaus, missions, and other relevant Agency coordinators. This position will provide technical leadership and direction on youth programming trends and consult on program design, implementation, evaluation, and outreach. The Coordinator will work collaboratively to develop tools, action plans, and provide technical support for policy implementation. Youth Advisors are strategically placed in regional and pillar bureaus and in the missions that have youth outreach and programming in their portfolios. Moving forward, the Agency’s approach to adolescent girls will establish increased coordination and integration between youth-and gender-focused programming.

STRATEGIC OBJECTIVES

USAID bases its development efforts for adolescent girls on the Gender Equality and Female Empowerment Policy, which establishes three objectives for achieving gender equality and empowerment of women and girls. Programs designed to advance adolescent girls’ development reference these goals as part of the Agency’s whole-of-girl approach:

  • Reduce gender disparities in access to, control over, and benefit from resources, wealth, opportunities and services—economic, social, political, and cultural;
  • Reduce gender-based violence and mitigate its harmful effects on individuals and communities; and
  • Increase capacity of women and girls to realize their rights, determine their life outcomes, and influence decision-making in households, communities, and societies.

Through these goals USAID advances gender equality throughout a woman’s life, including childhood and adolescence. Investments made in her early childhood are built upon during adolescence and prepare her with skills, competencies, analytic abilities, and better health and nutrition, which all will benefit her as an adult.

USAID programs are implemented in sectors where the specific needs of adolescent girls and the barriers they face are well understood, such as in CEFM; in others, USAID continues to develop and implement approaches to ensure that these areas are addressed, including, for example, adolescent girls’ greater inclusion as users of digital technology. USAID is increasing efforts in all of its work to break down silos and to coordinate across sectors. These efforts continue to improve the Agency’s efficacy in producing desired outcomes, and are essential for addressing the interlocking barriers that disempower and disadvantage adolescent girls. The success of the Agency’s development efforts depend on engaged collaboration with women and girls themselves, soliciting their knowledge and solutions while deepening their capacity for decision-making and driving social transformation. USAID forms partnerships with community leaders, governments, change agents, organizations, and experts to support local advocacy and change, and advances efforts to influence social beliefs, behaviors, and gender norms that are harmful to women and girls across society. Overall, programs and interventions build on the evidence base for how women’s and girls’ increased equality and empowerment benefit all of society.

Reduce Gender Disparities: Access to Resources

USAID supports programs and interventions to improve adolescent girls’ access to resources pertaining to education, economic empowerment, technology and innovation, and health and nutrition information and services that include family planning and water, sanitation, and hygiene programs. Barriers to accessing resources are frequently interlocking or cumulative, demonstrating the importance of eliminating silos and working across sectors. A key implementation approach to improving girls’ access to resources is working with communities to change social norms surrounding the value of girls. These approaches include developing societal attitudes supporting the importance of educational attainment; enhancing girls’ potential as future wage earners and entrepreneurs; improving services for survivors of violence; and the cross-generational positive effects of providing adolescent girls with age- and developmentally appropriate health and nutrition knowledge, skills, and reproductive health services.

Adolescent girls’ access to resources is affected by their life circumstances, such as their experiences of poverty, their exposure to gender-based violence, and the low value their families and communities place on educating girls. Globally, many adolescent girls are married and already mothers, heightening the importance of development approaches that take the diversity of adolescent experiences into account in designing interventions to expand women’s and girls’ access to resources. USAID’s Vision for Ending Child Marriage and Meeting the Needs of Married Children illustrates the critical necessity of ending CEFM, as well as designing interventions to address the specific needs of married children, such as addressing their frequent social isolation, increased risk of GBV, and high prevalence of early and frequent childbearing. Vulnerable and hard-to-reach girls are disproportionately affected by gender discrimination and inequalities, including girls who are out of school; unemployed; married and/or parenting; disabled; lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered individuals; and girls from ethnic- or religious- minority communities. The barriers these girls face with regard to accessing basic services, such as education, employment, and health and nutrition are often compounded and reflect larger constraints, such as gender discrimination in nationality laws and gaps in universal birth registration. USAID focuses on extending interventions and programs to these girls so they can also benefit from their societies’ development.

Reduce Gender-based Violence

USAID takes a whole-community approach—engaging women and girls and men and boys—to change attitudes and behaviors that perpetuate sexual and gender-based violence; and promote positive cultural norms and gender roles such as through community and school programs to support dialogue on gender norms with adolescents of all ages. Adolescent girls are particularly vulnerable to GBV with their own set of unique needs that must be met to provide quality assistance.

USAID’s GBV response and prevention programs that highlight adolescent girls’ needs pertain to health policy and services; community mobilization; life skills and gender transformative education for adolescent girls and boys; educational programs, including training teachers in preventing school-related GBV; responding to and preventing GBV in contexts of conflict or instability; and integrating gender-based violence prevention and response programs into workforce trainings and workplaces. The Agency’s GBV portfolio also includes work that seeks to end harmful customary practices that have strong repercussions for adolescent girls, such as CEFM, and FGM/C. USAID’s efforts to partner with men and boys increase the sustainability and social integration of efforts to address the challenges that adolescent girls encounter.

The Agency addresses programmatic areas where gender-based violence is cross-cutting, such as Crisis, Conflict, and Emergencies; Trafficking in Persons; and Orphans and Vulnerable Children.

Increase the Participation of Women and Girls in Decision-Making

To fully participate in all sectors of society, women and girls must not only have access to resources, but be empowered to use their access, to make decisions about the best course of action for their lives, and to effectively advocate for themselves, their families, and the broader community. Women often do not have equal decision-making roles in households, communities, or societies, and yet women’s and girls’ participation from the community to the national level is shown to lead to more sustainable solutions. Adolescent girls have even less decision-making power than adult women, and yet the decisions made for adolescent girls—and to a lesser extent by them—directly shape their adult lives. Addressing women’s and girls’ ability to make critical choices in their lives–such as pertaining to education, marriage, economic activities and investments, civic participation, health, and reproductive choices—is central to USAID’s work on gender equality and women’s empowerment.

STRATEGIC GOALS

USAID works cooperatively across U.S. government agencies and with governments around the world to create the change women and girls need to fully participate in their societies, as reflected in the three goals of the Gender Policy: to improve access to resources; reduce gender-based violence; and increase women’s and girls’ participation in decision-making. To capture the impact of program activities and to drive improved evaluation and learning USAID collects sex- and age- disaggregated data that document the programming that best achieves desired outcomes at different stages of adolescence and across sexes. Increased collection of data disaggregated by established age bands consistent across the Agency would advance efforts to design more effective programs for age-specific populations, such as the newly established Let Girls Learn ALC metric (discussed below). USAID continues to coordinate, amplify, and sharpen programming that engages and benefits adolescent girls, and advances the three objectives of the Gender Policy. The Agency does this by furthering efforts to mainstream and integrate gender throughout programs and interventions; by documenting progress, integrating lessons learned, and promoting best practices; and by expanding collaborations and partnerships. Within these activities the Agency’s focus on adolescent girls is maintained and strategically enhanced. Below are key activities within each category to demonstrate the Agency’s efforts in these areas.

Goal 1. MAINSTREAM AND INTEGRATE ISSUES THAT IMPACT ADOLESCENT GIRLS ACROSS SECTORS

Education Policy

USAID’s Education Strategy is currently under revision, but will emerge with increased integration of gender into the Agency’s educational programs, including highlighting the attention given to adolescent girls independently and through the Let Girls Learn Initiative. The Education Strategy establishes the Agency’s gender-equitable approach in its initial goals to improve reading skills in primary grades, to improve workforce development programs, and to increase access to education in crisis and conflict-affected environments, all of which support the Agency’s gender-sensitive equitable approach. Through these goals, USAID’s education services will continue to reach girls, including adolescent girls, in programs that target later grades or provide accelerated learning opportunities for out-of-school youth and prepare adolescent girls with the skills they need to succeed in the workforce. The strategy will integrate a focus on adolescent girls across all education goals where appropriate and will call for underlying education programming with a gender-sensitive approach that promotes gender equality.

Updated FGM/C Guidance

USAID’s Automated Directives System program implementation guidance on FGM/C is under review and will be updated. As this harmful practice is frequently performed on adolescent girls in areas where FGM/C is prevalent, updating this guidance contributes to efforts aimed at effectively directing development investments to end this practice. Revisions will include incorporating the Agency’s adoption of “mutilation” in the terminology to align with the UN agencies’ efforts to highlight the human rights violations inherent in this practice.

Updated Gender Key Issues

Key Issues are topics of special interest that cut across the Agency’s work. As part of the 2015 review of the four gender Key Issues, new examples have been created to illustrate the Agency’s work on adolescent girls. The examples provide models for what programs with a gender focus on adolescent girls might entail. Through these examples, adolescent girls are elevated as an important focus for programming and within the Agency’s priority to integrate gender throughout sectors.

Training

USAID trains staff and implementing partners on the Agency’s priority to integrate and mainstream gender across programs and in USAID’s internal operations. Gender 101: Gender Equality and USAID is an online training course required for all employees. Gender 102: Putting ADS 205 into Action, and Gender 103: Roles and Responsibilities for Gender Advisors, and the instructor-led course Achieving Development Outcomes through Gender Integration are highly encouraged and/ or required for staff working at the program level. The Youth Sexual and Reproductive Health training is an e-learning course that looks specifically at the intersection of adolescence and gender. New resources have been developed to help staff integrate GBV prevention and response into their programs. These include the in-person training, Integrating Gender-based Violence Across Sectors, and various sector-specific toolkits (education; energy and infrastructure; monitoring and evaluation; rule of law; CEFM). Additionally, the Senior Coordinator for Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment and the GenDev Training Director engage across the Agency to ensure that gender is integrated into new training resources, including awareness of the specific needs of adolescent girls.

USAID’s Positive Youth Development (PYD) Training Course is designed to increase the capacity of Youth Advisors, Youth Advocates, and Youth Points of Contact at Missions. This Agency training focuses on defining and implementing positive youth development approaches; operationalizing the USAID Youth in Development Policy; increasing understanding of youth development, including the influence of cultural norms on adolescents and the transition from youth to adulthood; identifying ways to build soft skills for improved outcomes; communicating global best practice tools for actively and appropriately strengthening youth engagement and leadership in all aspects of programming; supporting cross-sectoral youth programming implementation; and measuring PYD.

Goal 2. DOCUMENT PROGRESS, INTEGRATE LESSONS LEARNED, AND PROMOTE BEST PRACTICES

Girls Count Act

An important new focus on available data comes from the Girls Count Act. This legislation supports actions to ensure that children in developing countries are officially registered at birth. Through this legislation, U.S. government agencies such as USAID are positioned to assist in progress towards registering all children, particularly girls, in developing countries. Birth registration is essential for accessing many critical services and the protection of rights throughout life, including proving one’s identity, owning property, enrolling in education, gaining employment, opening a bank account, conferring citizenship on one’s children, and voting. While this legislation is important for all individuals, it has particular positive ramifications for girls who are less likely globally to have their births officially registered. In addition to the benefit birth registration confers on all children, the improvement in population data will be a valuable tool for designing evidence-driven programs and ensuring that adolescent girls have equal access to services and rights.

Let Girls Learn ALC Metric: USAID’s Agency Leadership Council (ALC) is an internal body that advances strategic programmatic and administrative issues. ALC metrics measure and report on specific milestones across programs to monitor progress on key development goals at established intervals. Through the Agency’s Let Girls Learn ALC metric that requires age- and sex- disaggregated data in new Let Girls Learn program reporting requirements, the Agency will capture the investments made in adolescent girls in education programs and the continued progress in reaching this population. Through this data, the Agency will also be able to articulate more precisely where programming for adolescent girls is clustered and how programs across sectors are delivering programming for adolescent girls within defined age ranges. With this data, USAID will be able to better design programs and interventions, and use enriched evidence to determine program priorities.

Passages

The Passages project aims to develop evidence and promote application of effective, scalable interventions to transform social norms related to sexual and reproductive health among youth, especially newly married couples, first-time parents, and very young adolescents. Passages will bridge the gap between science and effective policy and practice by piloting, replicating, and scaling-up social norm interventions and applying implementation science principles to explain what makes interventions effective and sustainable at scale in real-world contexts; strengthening in-country capacity to plan, implement, and monitor and evaluate the scale-up of effective pilot initiatives; and distilling and sharing evidence and fostering dialogue on integration, measurement, and evaluation of normative interventions.

Building an Evidence Base to Delay Child Marriage

Building an Evidence Base to Delay Child Marriage is a USAID-funded program designed to evaluate the effectiveness of four strategies to delay the age of marriage among adolescent girls in sub-Saharan African countries with a high prevalence of child marriage. The study produced data on the most effective strategies for delaying child marriage, including findings that point to the critical importance of approaches that elevate girls’ status within their families and communities, that increase their skills and knowledge, and that can be economically implemented. Overall, interventions to delay child marriage designed to be simple and sustainable were found to be most effective. With detailed information about each of the three countries in this study, the program provides important evidence that USAID will utilize in continued program design, evaluation, and implementation.

YouthPower

USAID’s YouthPower project strengthens local, national, and global systems to achieve sustainable, positive youth outcomes in health, education, civic participation, and economic empowerment. YouthPower supports cross-sectoral, positive youth development (PYD) investments, and promotes significant youth engagement as essential to ensuring all youth are empowered to reach their full potential. YouthPower promotes a culture of learning by conducting evaluations and disseminating technical reports, tools, and products through its website, which is a repository of shared learning as well as an active site for use by communities of practice, PYD practitioners, and youth advocates.

The Women’s Empowerment in Agriculture Index (WEAI)

The WEAI is a first-of-its-kind standardized tool which measures the empowerment, agency, and inclusion of women in the agriculture sector in an effort to identify ways to overcome obstacles and constraints women face. The WEAI has been used to explore the linkages between empowerment and well-being outcomes for households, women, and children across different countries and contexts. Gender parity is also measured by the WEAI, grounded in evidence showing that equalizing access to assets and opportunities for women and men helps achieve better development outcomes—such as better health and nutrition for women and their families, greater investments in education for children, and poverty reduction. A suite of tools and trainings relating to the WEAI can be found on the Feed the Future website.

Goal 3. EXPAND COLLABORATION AND PARTNERSHIPS

Let Girls Learn

The Let Girls Learn initiative is a collaborative approach enabling USAID to work with other U.S. government agencies, and to partner with civil society and the private sector to find solutions for keeping adolescent girls in school. Through Let Girls Learn, the U.S. government is working to address the range of challenges confronting adolescent girls around the world, building upon the broad portfolio of existing programs all aimed at addressing the complex and varied barriers preventing adolescent girls from attending and completing school and from realizing their potential as adults. Through the Let Girls Learn Challenge Fund, USAID will use a multi-sectoral approach to create innovative solutions for removing the barriers that prevent girls from continuing their education.

SPRING Accelerator

The SPRING Accelerator is a public-private partnership formed by the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID), the Nike Foundation, and USAID. SPRING is designed to accelerate economic empowerment for girls in parts of Africa and Asia by delivering technical and financial support to early-stage enterprises developing life-enhancing products and services that enable girls to safely learn, earn, and save. This five-year program is now underway in Kenya, Uganda, and Rwanda with planned expansion to other countries in South Asia and East Africa over the next two years. The first eighteen participants were selected in May 2015 and attended an ideation training that resulted in strategies, product prototypes, and initial marketing and development using design principles specialized for adolescent girls. Local and global mentors are paired with participants to ensure the proper available support for achieving the accelerator’s objectives.

Women and Girls Lead Global (WGLG)

WGLG is a media-based public-private alliance between Independent Television Service, the Ford Foundation, USAID, and CARE that promotes gender equality and women’s empowerment worldwide. The partnership includes a ten-episode documentary film series each year about women and girls rising above dire circumstances to establish better lives and conditions for themselves, their families, and communities. Currently active in Bangladesh, Colombia, El Salvador, India, Jordan, Kenya, Malawi, and Peru, WGLG combines the power of media with locally led social action campaigns to engage schools and communities to take action to address the challenges faced by women and girls across the globe.

MEASURING USAID’s IMPLEMENTATION OF THE Adolescent Girl STRATEGY

USAID’s Gender Policy guides the Agency’s efforts to increase gender equality and women’s empowerment, which encompasses efforts to address the specific development needs of adolescent girls through the whole-of-girl approach. The objectives of the Gender Policy are met, in part, through advancing the goals of the U.S. Adolescent Girls Strategy. The progress and continued success of this implementation plan will be measured by indicators marking progress on meeting the three strategic goals below. Progress will also be captured through broader indicators designed to address gender equality and youth empowerment.

Advances Towards Meeting Strategic Goals

Since standard indicators are not currently in place to measure progress on improving development outcomes for adolescent girls, new custom or standard indicators specific to adolescent girls will be proposed in consultation with missions, program staff, and the Office of U.S. Foreign Assistance Resources (F) to measure progress on the implementation plan’s goals. Illustrative indicators are suggested below.[1] In addition, existing processes and standard indicators will be used to measure broad progress towards equality and empowerment for adolescent girls through a variety of USAID programs.

Data will be collected and reported through a variety of mechanisms such as the Performance Plans and Reports (PPRs) and, if necessary, data calls on USAID’s work.[2] Data will be reported in coordination with reporting on the implementation of the broad U.S. Adolescent Girls Strategy as determined by the working group called for in the strategy.

Illustrative indicators aligned to each of the three strategic goals include:

Goal 1. MAINSTREAM AND INTEGRATE ISSUES THAT IMPACT ADOLESCENT GIRLS ACROSS SECTORS, demonstrated by an increase in the integration of adolescent girls into new interventions across sectors.

  • Number of new projects that are designed that integrate adolescent girls as primary beneficiaries or improve the status and value of adolescent girls in their societies.

Goal 2. DOCUMENT PROGRESS, INTEGRATE LESSONS LEARNED, AND PROMOTE BEST PRACTICES, to enrich and expand available data disaggregated by sex and age which will inform program design and support best practices across sectors.

  • Number of new projects that collect data disaggregated by sex and age (or age band).
  • Number of research studies funded by the Agency to build evidence for interventions that best produce positive outcomes for adolescent girls.
  • Number of new trainings or materials (e.g., toolkits, how-to notes, and fact sheets) developed to communicate best practices on adolescent girl interventions.

Goal 3. EXPAND COLLABORATION AND PARTNERSHIPS, illustrated by the increase in USAID partnerships (host government, civil society private partnerships, other United States government agencies, or donors) working to address the barriers facing adolescent girls.

  • Number of new partnerships working on issues of adolescent girls.

FOREIGN ASSISTANCE INDICATORS: These standard indicators measure results that are directly attributable to the U.S. government’s programs, projects, and activities across agencies, as well as outcomes and impacts to which U.S. government programming contributed. Performance target and result data are collected against these indicators on an annual basis. At a programmatic level, some of the joint USAID- Department of State Foreign Assistance gender indicators may help to describe the impact of USAID’s work on adolescent girls. As an example, the Foreign Assistance indicator on increased agreement with the concept that males and females should have equal access to social, economic, and political resources and opportunities could be used to monitor and evaluate progress on changing attitudes that inform the barriers disadvantaging and disempowering adolescent girls. For streamlining purposes, it is important to note that these indicators are already collected by missions through the existing PPR process. Relevant existing indicators include, but are not limited to:

  • GNDR-1: Number of legal instruments drafted, proposed, or adopted with USG assistance designed to promote gender equality or non-discrimination against women or girls at the national or sub-national level.
  • GNDR-4: Percentage of participants reporting increased agreement with the concept that males and females should have equal access to social, economic, and political resources and opportunities.
  • GNDR-6: Number of people reached by a USG-funded intervention providing GBV services (e.g., health, legal, psycho-social counseling, shelters, hotlines, other).

YOUTH INDICATORS: USAID’s Youth Corps is currently developing new metrics to capture data in key areas to better inform the design of youth programming, including programming that engages and benefits adolescent girls. Overall, these indicators will measure the outcomes described in the USAID Youth in Development Policy. USAID Missions and Operating Units are highly encouraged to disaggregate all youth indicators by age and required to disaggregate by sex. These indicators will also be used by the Department of State.

NEXT STEPS

This implementation plan provides an overview of USAID’s whole-of-girl approach and how the Agency’s programming both addresses the challenges adolescent girls encounter and promotes opportunities for adolescent girls to advance and thrive. The Agency’s forward-looking priorities include further development of best practices and investing resources into emerging fields.

Best Practices

Programs that benefit adolescent girls are integrated into the investments USAID currently makes across sectors, yet the Agency continues to adopt smarter, more efficient methods to improve upon existing efforts. USAID does this by increasing adolescent girls’ participation in program design and implementation with attention to the diversity of the girl participants, including hard-to-reach girls. Program design also strives to reduce silos and prioritize cross-sectoral collaboration to increase the effectiveness of interventions. Additionally, the Agency builds upon its whole-of-community, intergenerational approach that engages men and women, boys and girls to address the barriers negatively affecting adolescent girls holistically, including negotiating social behaviors, gender norms, and the perceived social value of girls and women.

Emerging Fields

USAID continues to design programs and interventions that expand into new areas to address the challenges that adolescent girls face and to further opportunities for adolescent girls to benefit from, and participate in, the development of their nations. Key areas in which USAID is developing future programming include adolescent girls’ mental health, their exploitation as domestic workers, the development of online privacy and security guidelines to protect adolescent girls as they increase their use of digital technology, and expanding the Agency’s work on the role of adolescent girls in countering violent extremism.

CONCLUSION

USAID’s commitment to adolescent girls is ongoing with an eye to improving outcomes and program efficiency as the Agency continues to work in smarter, more focused ways. Under the U.S. Adolescent Girls Strategy, USAID will continue to build on the established whole-of-girl approach both within the work of the Agency and in U.S. government interagency efforts to maximize every avenue for meeting the development needs of adolescent girls, to expand on their opportunities, and to build more democratic and resilient societies.


[1] If it becomes necessary to collect data via data calls to missions before standard indicators are approved, requests for data calls will be submitted to the Streamlining Governance Committee (SGC) for review.

[2] Pending the approval of the SGC.