EMpower believes that girls are the experts and should be the protagonists of their own lives. COVID-19 has sharpened existing inequalities, especially for girls and young women. In this pivotal moment, one year since the pandemic began to take hold, we have the opportunity to “unlearn” what has not been effective until now and build back in a more inclusive manner.
With support from the UK’s Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO), EMpower launched the In HER Voice project, to meaningfully center the ideas, voices, and wisdom of girls into conversations of inclusive recovery. Under the aegis of this project, we developed the EMpower Leaders Lab – a three-month participatory action research (PAR) engagement with 25 girls from urban areas in India who were in charge of the research design and implementation.
The girl leaders interviewed 153 peers in their communities to better understand the ways in which the pandemic has redefined their lives—looking at how the crisis has affected their education, livelihoods, mobility, social cohesion, and health. From designing the questionnaire to conducting interviews and analysing the data, the girl leaders ran the show, wearing their research hats all the way.
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