Unleashing the Girl Effect
Africa's success in reversing poverty trends depends, to a large extent, on the degree to which programs, policies, and investments empower girls as vital actors in families, communities, and the larger society. Achieving this transformation calls for creating a set of conditions that provide girls with the opportunity to reach their full potential and to lead lives of meaning and value, while enhancing the substantive choices that shape their future (Sen, 1997).
Grassroots organizations tackle this challenge with a combination of creativity, tenacity, and commitment. In this initiative, they benefitted from Firelight's support to access new resources, knowledge, and networks to develop targeted strategies that empower marginalized adolescent girls.
Key strategic choices in the approach lay the foundation for the success: getting to know the girls and understanding them individually and as part of their family and community; working with the girls in small groups to create network of support; a long-term commitment that provided support over three years; an integrated approach that addressed the multiple barriers to empowerment; and finally, an ongoing process of reflection, learning, and skills building to enhance the effectiveness of each program.
Those elements, complemented with the ability to "link, lever, and connect" actors and resources in order to transform the lives of girls led to impressive and lasting results. Consequently, unleashing the Girl Effect.