Girls have a fundamental right to be heard, valued and respected. Moreover, by listening to girls’ voices, policymakers and program managers can help bridge the gaps between girls’ aspirations and their actual experiences. In this report, the authors outline six themes that arise from girls’ aspirations, including the desire to be healthy and educated with viable livelihoods and career opportunities, financial security and independence; and to marry and have children at the appropriate time. Underlying all the themes is one universal: a shared inability to make decisions about their own lives even though they know what they need.
This report also builds on girls’ voices in ways that make them more accessible to policymakers and programmers. The recommendations call for families, communities and development efforts that create an environment where girls can thrive.