Plan-It Girls is an innovative program that seeks to build self-efficacy and employment skills among adolescent girls while shifting prevailing gender norms. Plan-It Girls adopts an ecosystem approach to build agency and gender equality at the local level, leveraging a catalytic personal advancement curriculum tailored for girls attending Grades 9 and 11 at government schools in Delhi (urban context) and two districts of Jharkhand (rural context).
Based on a socio-ecological approach, the program includes principals and teachers, parents, boys, community members, business leaders and policymakers to create an environment to support girls and their aspirations.
What did we set out to do?
- In Delhi, the community engagement component of the program aims to create a safe and supportive environment for girls at the household and community level.
- The project aims to help create a pool of employment-ready young women who are able to aspire for a better life and plan for their future.
- Test a development model for building the skills and competencies of adolescent girls that is grounded in learnings from ICRW’s previous programs like Gender Equity Movement in Schools (GEMS) and Planning Ahead for Girls’ Empowerment and Employability (PAGE).
What Methods Did We Use?
The preparatory phase included curriculum development, consolidation of partnerships, obtainment of government permissions, scoping at the project sites, and finalization of an M&E plan. A baseline study was then conducted, followed by program implementation.
Learnings: Building a curriculum to promote girls’ agency
The girl is at the center of the Plan-It program, which aims to foster a transformative shift in girls’ lives so that they can realistically aspire and plan for their futures. Plan-It has developed a gender-integrated foundational skills curriculum that aims to enhance their ability to articulate future aspirations; identify skills required to fulfill them; and communicate and negotiate their spaces amid patriarchal boundaries (or other constraints) within the family, school and community.
The intervention recognizes that a shift in gender norms is necessary to support girls’ aspirations, acquisition of skills, breaking of gender stereotypes and reduction of resistance to girls’ success. Thus, the program engage with parents, male peers, community, teachers and businesses to create an enabling environment for girls to aspire and create pathways for employment, as well as achieve greater negotiating power within the household related to their career decisions.
Since the communities in Jharkhand are widespread and the distances between communities and schools tend to be longer, the program’s community engagement model includes elected representatives, field-level government health workers and community leaders to influence the discourse around gender norms at the local level. The model also includes community-level campaigns focusing on issues around the value of girls, gender norms and girls’ aspirations.