Journal article
1 July 2023

The global early adolescent study: the interventions

Author: Kristin Mmari
Published by: Journal of adolescent health
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This supplement includes seven journal articles that examine the impact and implementation of five gender-transformative interventions among very young adolescents (VYAs) (aged 10–14 years) across different cultural contexts around the world. Gender-transformative interventions, which seek to critically examine gender norms to increase gender-equitable attitudes and behaviours, may be particularly relevant for VYAs. While gender socialization starts at birth, early adolescence is a critical point of intensification of gender attitudes and beliefs, as puberty reshapes perceptions and expectations of self and social expectations from others. Research gathered from the Global Early Adolescent study has already shown that young adolescents can hold inequitable and stereotypical attitudes about gender roles, traits, and relations, which have important implications for their health. At the same time, we also know that attitudes and beliefs about gender are malleable to change.

While global reviews of gender transformative interventions have highlighted the successes of these programs in shifting gender attitudes and beliefs with subsequent improvements in sexual and reproductive health outcomes, there is still limited understanding of the effectiveness of such programs in this age group and how best to implement these programs across different social and cultural contexts. The Global Early Adolescent study was designed to gather longitudinal evidence on the influence of gender socialization on health among VYAs across diverse urban poor settings and the impact of gender-transformative interventions in shifting inequitable gender attitudes to promote positive health trajectories. This supplement draws on the lessons learned from five interventions to reflect the conditions for success from an implementation perspective before drawing insights from impact evaluations of two interventions in Kinshasa and Indonesia to better understand how and for whom gender-transformative interventions work.