Youth Development Tools

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Designing Programs for Adolescent Girls

Whether starting a new program, expanding the scope or scale of an existing program, or focusing on the specific needs of adolescent girls in a coed program, these tools provide guidance on the A-Z of program design for adolescent girls.

Making the Most of Mentors: Recruitment, Training, and Support of Mentors for Adolescent Girl Programming

Population Council (2019)

Mentors are an important part of many effective programs for girls, yet little information is available about the practical aspects of developing and supporting a successful mentor cadre.

This toolkit is designed to be practical and user-friendly for program planners, practitioners, mentor trainers, and mentors themselves. It includes insights from years of Population Council experience, pulling together lessons, tips, and specific tools that can be adapted and used to find, train, monitor, support, and evaluate mentors. Inside the toolkit you will find:

  • Experiences from the Population Council’s decades of work in adolescent girl programming
  • Mentor recruitment and training strategies
  • Exercises used by mentors to facilitate program sessions
  • Mentor-retention strategies
  • Monitoring and evaluation tools
  • Models for sustainability

Community Considerations Guide: More than a backdrop, understanding the role of communities in programming for adolescent girls

Population Council (2019)

The structural and social features of a girl’s community play a critical role in determining what effects programs can achieve.

This Action Guide focuses on five key questions, offers tips on how to find answers, and provides real world examples that demonstrate how to use community-level insights for action for adolescent girls. It was written for people who design, manage, and assess community-based programming.

In communities, girls’ programs often work through “safe spaces” or girls’ clubs, which typically include regular meetings led by a local mentor who delivers information to participants.3 This guide is also relevant to programs that engage girls through other channels, including schools, and it can be useful for community-based programming with boys and parents.

Putting Girls at the Center - The Girls Advisory Council

The Girls Advisory Council with EMpower - The Emerging Markets Foundation, 2018

The Girls Advisory Council (GAC), an EMpower initiative, is a group of adolescent girl leaders who advise on EMpower’s grantmaking strategy in India and how to best meet the needs of adolescent girls. We recognize that to fully address girls’ needs, strategies to empower girls need to be informed by those affected by the strategies’ implications every day – the girls themselves. This is why we are centering our work around their expertise.

Learn more about the GAC and get to know the adolescent girl Council members in the brochure Putting Girls at the Center: Girls Advisory Council. See details on the key themes recommended by the GAC in order to more effectively help girls succeed, in the document Key Themes to Support Adolescent Girls.

Empowering Her Voice: Adolescent Girls Learning Communities

EMpower - The Emerging Markets Foundation, 2018

EMpower’s Adolescent Girls Learning Communities are vibrant groups, comprised of local grantee partner organizations, mentors and girls, which nurture and empower girls as leaders. The brochure Empowering Her Voice: Adolescent Girls Learning Communities describes the concept, formation, growth and impact of EMpower’s two Adolescent Girls Learning Communities in India, as well as guidelines for working with adolescent girls.

The Girl Path

EMpower - The Emerging Markets Foundation, 2015

The purpose of The Girl Path is to identify obstacles that prevent girls from fully participating in youth programs, and then to brainstorm ways that programs can remove, reduce, or otherwise address those barriers.

The Girl Path is currently available in English, Spanish, Hindi and Russian, with imagery options of girls from E/SE Asia, India, Latin America, Europe and Africa.

The Girl Path brochure contains instructions to implement this tool, and the Girl Path Icons are able to be cut out for use.

Empowering Girls Spaces Infographic

EMpower - The Emerging Markets Foundation

​Girls need spaces in their community to share challenges and potential solutions, to get support and to dream. Create spaces just for girls with this easy infographic! Read on for inspiration…

Learning from Practice Series: Selecting and Recruiting Adolescent Girls

The World Bank’s Adolescent Girls Initiative, 2013

This is a short handout (4 pages) with key lessons learned from different programs working with adolescent girls in developing countries. Part of The World Bank: Adolescent Girl Initiative website.

Girl-Centered Program Design: A Toolkit to Develop, Strengthen & Expand Adolescent Girls Programs

Population Council, 2010

This toolkit is meant for anyone interested in designing or running a program specifically for adolescent girls.

It covers:

  • how to decide which girls to include in the program
  • how to conduct needs assessments to better understand their needs
  • how to structure the program: creating safe spaces, recruitment, leadership development and gaining support for the program from parents and the community
  • reaching extremely vulnerable youth
  • program content topics: building girls’ assets, economic strengthening, reproductive health, sexual and gender-based violence
  • monitoring and evaluation.
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