- Project summary
- 13 January 2021
Act with her
- Author: Rebecca Justus
- Published by: The Learning Collaborative to Advance Normative Change
Pathfinder International; CARE International; Gender and Adolescence: Global Evidence (GAGE); Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Act With Her is a five-year investment that began in 2017, during which an existing program for young adolescent girls in Ethiopia – Her Spaces – will be scaled up and an expanded version will be tested. The expanded model also engages older adolescent girls, boy peers, families, communities, and key systems. Act With Her is a multi-sectoral model which aims to facilitate adolescents’ healthy transitions to adulthood by increasing capabilities across six outcome areas: education and learning, health, nutrition and sexual and reproductive health, bodily integrity, psychosocial wellbeing, voice and agency, and economic empowerment. Act With Her is funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and is implemented by Pathfinder International and CARE International. The Gender and Adolescence: Global Evidence (GAGE) consortium was a key design partner and is conducting an impact evaluation to assess the impact of different project components. The first phase of Act With Her programming works with very young adolescents; older adolescent programming will begin in 2021. Currently, the project is implemented in the Afar, Amhara, and Oromia regions of Ethiopia.
Social norms of interest
Education and learning, health, nutrition and sexual and reproductive health, bodily integrity, psychosocial wellbeing, voice and agency, and economic empowerment; harmful norms related to gender equity, adolescent roles, puberty, violence, child marriage
Behaviors of interest
School attendance; nutrition practices; health-seeking behaviors; contraceptive use; experiences of violence; improved gender-equitable behaviors; saving and income-generation activities; child marriage rates; improved communication skills
As part of the Act With Her model, Pathfinder has developed project-specific, gender-transformative curricula for boys and girls, which comprehensively address key topics across the six outcome areas. Six sessions are provided to participants’ parents to orient them on topics covered in the adolescent curricula; these sessions largely focus on social norms. Community transformation activities in select communities apply CARE’s Social Analysis and Action (SAA) approach to gender and social transformation. This approach allows communities to lead reflection on gender, social, and power norms through participatory tools and discussion. Systems strengthening activities in select communities include application of CARE’s Community Score Card (CSC) approach, a mechanism through which adolescents and community members can provide feedback on the systems in their community, including health and education systems. Some communities include an asset transfer for young adolescent girls (education or hygiene supplies).
Social norms measurement
Shifts in social norms will be measured by GAGE’s mixed methods, randomized controlled trial evaluation. Additionally, the qualitative monitoring and learning data provides insight into how adolescents and community members perceive norms to be shifting.
Key findings to date
In the monitoring and learning data, girls, boys, and communities report increased understanding of menstruation leading to decreased stigma faced by girls and increased school attendance. Girls and boys report an increased understanding that gendered division of labor is not necessary – boys have reported helping to cook and take on some of their sisters’ responsibilities. Parents have reported an increased understanding of the importance of education for adolescent girls and delaying marriage. Adolescents and mentors have reported improved communication skills and increased confidence.