Strengthening and utilizing the economic potential of girls is a critical approach for economic development. Unfortunately there has been little analysis of programs that address the multiple needs of adolescent girls, including enhancing their livelihood potential by building their economic agency. This report highlights findings from a scoping study to understand the state of the field of adolescent programming in India and to inform the design of future comprehensive programs that address both the productive and reproductive dimensions of girls’ lives. The methodology included reviewing the literature, mapping organizations and programs for adolescent girls focused on livelihoods and/or sexual and reproductive health and rights, interviewing technical experts, and conducting field visits to select programs in Delhi, Bihar, Jharkhand and Maharashtra.
Among its findings, the study identifies the following key program elements that need to be strengthened to meet adolescent girls’ comprehensive needs:
- Community buy-in
- Safe spaces for engagement
- Programming with a strong gender lens
- Responding to girls’ aspirations and practical needs
- Expanding the scope of livelihoods beyond skill-building activities to include job placement and/or support to enable girls to become self-employed.
The report concludes with recommendations directed to practitioners, policymakers and donors for catalyzing comprehensive programming for adolescent girls.