Adolescence is a time of transition from childhood to adulthood. Gender and social norms restrict girls from occupying spaces outside the home, but centering their voice, priorities and participation can strengthen their leadership skills to come together and collectively shift norms towards greater equality of the project’s objectives: build girls’ individual and collective agency and shift unequal social norms, both of which are integral to comprehensive impact across sectors that support adolescent empowerment.
Girl led programming
The traditional way of addressing a behavior includes a communication strategy with activities targeting individual behavior change. Most of these activities are planned and led by the program staff with community consultations, investing in community members, and enhancing their knowledge and skills. A girl-led approach is not about a training or knowledge transfer but more about planning and executing activities based on issues they prioritize, supported by a mentorship process. It can build girls’ confidence in managing and leading interventions as well as taking up public spaces with visibility. As the girls have lived experience of the community’s social milieu, they can be mindful of risks and can plan for an assessment and mitigation of backlash in advance. The following components can be considered to support girl-led social norms programming: trust, mentorship, planning and decision-making, risk mitigation, and structured allyship.