Partners & Allies: Toolkit for Meaningful Adolescent Girl Engagement

In December, the Coalition for Adolescent Girls (CAG), a member-led and driven organization dedicated to supporting, investing in, and improving the lives of adolescent girls, released “Partners & Allies: Toolkit for Meaningful Adolescent Girl Engagement.” Developed with the goal of advancing practices related to adolescent girl engagement, the toolkit recognizes that girl engagement is distinct from youth engagement and requires intentionality, resources, and training. The toolkit provides information that is actionable for organizations’ on-going work with adolescent girls or for organizations looking to engage adolescent girls. Advocates for Youth is proud to have worked alongside the CAG and coalition members in the development of the toolkit, which features several cases studies including our work with the Girl Engagement Advisory Board.nn

Adolescent girls, youth, and adult professionals collaborated for over a year to generate the content presented in the toolkit. This toolkit is a compilation of knowledge and understanding about adolescent girl engagement derived from the CAG’s literature review on the subject, a technical consultation conducted in October 2014 for CAG members, youth, and adolescent girls, learnings from a series of E-forums held for CAG members and all consultation participants in February 2015, an external stakeholder consultation held in March 2015 for adult professionals, youth, and adolescent girls and contributions from members of the CAG Girl Engagement Tool Working Group. In all, 80 individuals participants in the two consultations with 34% of participants under the age of 25.

The toolkit defines meaningful girl engagement as a participatory process in which girls’ opinions, ideas, and experiences are integrated into an organization’s activities or structure in an effort to make the organization or its activities more effective, accountable, and/or relevant to the girl population. The toolkit is not a program design toolkit, rather it is a comprehensive resource that will answer the “why”, “how”, and “what” related to safe and effective adolescent girl engagement.

The information included in the toolkit should be used to make the case for adolescent girl engagement. It should improve or establish girl engagement processes and activities and allow for measuring processes and outcomes related to girl engagement strategies and interventions at the individual, institutional, and additional levels. Most importantly, the toolkit should allow organizations and programs to assess the extent to which an institution or stakeholder is ready to meaningfully engage girls in their work.

We hope that you will join us in ensuring that the tool is disseminated widely and used practically to improve our organizations, programs, research, projects, and policies.