Insights and Lessons Learned for Girls Programming

Abriendo OportunidadesWhile a growing number of investments focus on adolescent girls, such attention is insufficient to meet the priorities and provide the resources girls deserve. An increasing number of girls programs are going to scale or operating at scale, but these still reflect first- or second-generation initiatives—comparable to where the family planning movement was in the late 1950s. A journal on adolescent girls does not yet exist, and if it did, it would likely take several years for materials to be widely circulated.

We do, however, have experience based on over a decade of work that has generated tools. There are benchmark and key articles that provide evidence of the effectiveness of programs, papers on cost data, toolkits, and emerging programmatic material to share.

This video toolkit creates a flexible and accessible mechanism to share many of the key insights and lessons learned in girls programs. The goal is to give you the tools to build a program—even a small pilot program—that incorporates the key elements and approaches that will make reaching significant scale possible. We undertake this effort with the understanding that in most cases significant scale is not reached until the second or third generation of a program.

Think of this as a “living document.” We will add content as more tools, benchmarks, programmatic material, and program evidence become available and we are able to distil the key lessons learned from this work.

How To Use This Toolkit

The toolkit is designed to be flexible. It is based on workshops that we conducted with numerous organizations, multi-laterals, and donors. Start by watching “Making the Case” which gives an overview of the positive returns of investments in girls. Then view the other videos back-to-back or choose individual topics.

The toolkit contains video lectures of PowerPoint presentations, the presentations themselves, and sources of additional reading and information to enhance your understanding of the topics.  We recommend you print or download the presentations before watching each lecture. Additional reading and information provide more depth and background.


This toolkit contains the following video lectures:

In the future, we will add to this toolkit with new speakers and new topics, including community contracts, safe scaping, inter-household allocation, mapping, and girls’ self-protection strategies.

Additional Resources


Photo: The Population Council’s Abriendo Oportunidades (“Opening Opportunities”) project provides the most vulnerable Guatemalan girls with skills and support to improve their lives. (Mark Tuschman)