Adolescent Empowerment at Scale: Successes and challenges of an evidence-based approach to young women’s programming in Africa

Number of pages: 12

Publication date: 01 Feb 2023

Publisher: BRAC and UNFPA

Over the past two decades, the development field has seen gains in effective programming for adolescent girls and young women, including through investments in evidence-based approaches such as the Empowerment and Livelihood for Adolescents (ELA) programme initiated by the Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee (BRAC) in Africa.

BRAC is a leading international nonprofit with a mission to empower people and communities in situations of poverty, illiteracy, disease and social injustice. Randomized evaluations in several contexts have demonstrated ELA’s positive impact, which is achieved by delivering empowering and engaging content covering sexual and reproductive health, economic skills and life skills in girls’ clubs or safe spaces.

In the spirit of learning, and in keeping with its commitment to gender equality and sexual and reproductive health and rights for adolescent girls, UNFPA supported this synthesis of lessons learned over the 15 years of implementing ELA, for the benefit of the wider development community.

Lessons learned include the fact that a multifaceted approach like ELA works but implementation quality can be easily compromised, programme curriculum must be frequently evaluated and updated for a youth empowerment training programme to remain effective, and formal mechanisms for community engagement are necessary.

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