4. Tools and experiences

Programme Toolkits and Curricula

The Population Council has developed a set of toolkits for designing and implementing programmes to benefit adolescent girls and to tackle the factors that constrain their development (including lack of knowledge, self-confidence and restrictions linked to discriminatory norms) (Population Council, 2018b). Its curricula are also available online, covering areas such as gender equality, financial literacy, leadership and health.

The Coalition for Adolescent Girls has curated a set of toolkits, curricula and guides on working with adolescent girls. These include guidance on girl-centred design across a variety of sectors, including adolescent sexual and reproductive health, financial literacy and savings, settings, such as humanitarian and emergency contexts, and also highlight life skills curricula from various well-established programmes.

The Coalition for Adolescent Girls has curated a set of toolkits, curricula and guides on working with adolescent girls. These include how to ensure girl-centred programme design across a variety of sectors (including adolescent sexual and reproductive health, and financial literacy and savings) and in different settings (such as humanitarian and emergency contexts). They also highlight life skills curricula from various well-established programmes.

GAGE’s review of girls’ clubs also includes a listing of the curricula for the projects examined.

Knowledge for Health (K4Health)’s Very Young Adolescent Sexual and Reproductive Health Library has a section on gender norms. The ‘programme implementation’ tab leads to a collection of project implementation guides, training manuals and other materials for use with young adolescents, as well as radio programme episodes, etc. (K4Health, n.d.).

Programme Spotlight

Changing Gender Norms among young adolescents:  CHOICES in Nepal

This pilot programme worked with boys and girls aged 10-14 to challenge prevailing gender norms through a short, participatory series of life skills sessions held at existing children’s clubs. The sessions were facilitated by children’s club graduates using the CHOICES curriculum developed by Save the Children and evaluated by the Institute of Reproductive Health at Georgetown University. The sessions covered issues such as gender inequalities and power, the constraining impacts of gender norms on boys and girls, practical actions that challenge gender norms, and realising aspirations. The evaluation used participatory evaluation techniques, such as photovoice, as well as questionnaires and generated both statistically robust quantitative data and insights from the qualitative parts of the programme.

Girls in a group

CHOICES led to statistically significant shifts towards more egalitarian attitudes on gender issues among participants. These included views on boys’ and girls’ right to study, aspirations for their futures and views on child marriage and domestic divisions of labour. Qualitative evidence also shows changed practices with greater sharing of household chores.

Building on the success of this programme, Save the Children has developed two complementary curricula: Voices and Promises. Voices is aimed at parents of young adolescents, and consists of a series of six short videos and facilitated discussions aiming to change norms around domestic divisions of labour, education, child marriage and equal treatment of boys and girls within the household. Promises aims to shift community norms related to gender and child marriage. It consists of a series of six posters that are unveiled sequentially in public places. Community activists lead discussion about these posters and bring them to the attention of others in their social networks. An evaluation of the Promises approach in Nepal found it had increased community-level understanding of the importance of being physically mature before marriage. Respondents also felt it had contributed to improved relationships between parents and children.

The impact of implementing the entire set of individual, family and community interventions was recently evaluated in rural Nepal. Two communities received the individual-level Choices intervention as well the family and community Voices and Promises interventions (CVP). Two comparison communities received only Choices. Samples of 1,200 10-14 year olds and 600 parents were interviewed at baseline before implementation and at end line one year later. In both study arms the majority of measures of gender norms, attitudes, and behaviors became more gender equitable, suggesting a positive effect of the individual-level intervention. The increase in gender equitable norms, attitudes, and behaviors reported by VYAs was generally greater in the communities which received the multi-level intervention as compared to the Choices areas, suggesting an added benefit from the family and community interventions. However, parent-reported measures did not demonstrate an intervention effect of the family and community interventions. While overall findings are encouraging, uneven results, particularly among parents, may be reflective of implementation challenges including the 2015 earthquakes and subsequent political unrest.

Further information

Save the Children (2015) Choices, Voices, Promises Brief

Institute for Reproductive Health (2011) Utilizing Participatory Data Collection Methods to Evaluate Programs for Very Young Adolescents: An Evaluation of Save the Children’s Choices Curriculum in Siraha, Nepal - note: this report is a longer version of the featured resource shown below. 

Marcus, R., 2017 Girls' clubs and gender norm change, ALIGN, London, UK