What Works for Adolescents’ Empowerment

Adolescents and Youth, Men and Masculinities, Sports for Development, Violence Against Women and Girls

Publication Year: 2020
Publication Author: Nanda, S., Sharma, S., Anand, S., Pal, P., Nandi, S.

Adolescence marks the developmental transition from childhood to adulthood; a time when many important social, economic, biological, and demographic events set the stage for adult life. The nature and quality of young people’s future, as well as a country’s future social and economic development, depends largely on how well adolescents navigate this transition. Programming for adolescent girls and women has increasingly focused on empowerment approaches.

The term empowerment made its way into the feminist movement in 1980s. Scholars have also used gender scripts to further understand how gender is performed in daily lives to unpack theoretical frameworks on the construction of gender and its various implications. This also speaks directly to the kinds of pathways adopted by various kinds of developmental actors, to address the concerns of disempowerment. In this context, empowerment is seen both as a process and an outcome.


Given this context, ICRW, with support from the Ford Foundation, undertook a learning review focusing on two thematic areas of programming for adolescent girls with the following objectives:

  • To understand the drivers and pathways to solutions adopted for issues identified by the specific projects included in the review
  • To understand the organizational ideologies and how these influence organizations adopting certain program strategies
  • To explore what remains to be done in the context of creating empowering spaces and identify strategies for sustaining these spaces

Read more about this project and what we learned by downloading the brief or the full report  by clicking on the hyperlinks or the button below for the full report.

In addition, the film below, Parwaaz, meaning ‘flight’, establishes the issue of adolescent empowerment as a multilayered concern. The film focuses on stories that highlight useful strategies for developing an enabling environment through the creation of safe spaces for girls. This film has been produced by the ICRW as part of a research project, Vikalp: Learning Review on What Works for Adolescents’ Empowerment, funded by the Ford Foundation.


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Publication Rights:

Nanda, S., Sharma, S., Anand, S., Pal, P., Nandi, S. (2020). What Works for Adolescents’ Empowerment: A Learning Review. New Delhi: International Center for Research on Women.


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