Reaching the Poorest Girls in the Poorest Communities

Video length: 24:51

Presenter: Judith Bruce, Senior Associate and Policy Analyst, Population Council

Presentation: Reaching the Poorest Girls in the Poorest Communities

This lecture provides an overview on how to identify where the poorest girls are located and how to effectively reach them in order to ensure the best value for money and the most effective girls program.

Key Themes

Recognize and animate the social contract: The potential of the 16 promises and the renewed community contract.

  • By the “social contract” we mean those promises made to girls at the global, national, and local level that too often go unrealized.  At the global level, there are promises like the MDGs, and at the national level there are promises such as laws about the legal age of marriage. At the community level, these promises are related to factors like health services, playing fields, community centers, and banks. All are assets within a community to which girls rarely have access, especially poorer and more vulnerable girls. Our goal is to connect girls to those assets in their community and thereby to redeem the social contract.
  • To do this, all assets in the community should be mapped and determinations about who has access should be made. This is referred to as a coverage exercise.
  • BRAC’s 16 promises present a framework for re-engaging the community in its social contract with girls. BRAC’s framework can be used to make specific and permanent promises to girls and thus give them access and actualize the rights and promises made to them.

Which girls: Reaching girls at the highest risk of the worst outcomes at an appropriate age.

  • Use existing data (e.g. DHS) and formative research to identify the physical/geographical concentrations of the most vulnerable girls at the national and community levels.  This helps you to understand the universe of girls you are addressing.
  • Girls can irretrievably lose their rights at an early age (e.g., through early marriage, HIV infection) or be denied rights that are difficult to recover (e.g., being pulled out of school).  Experience has shown that it is best to intervene before these rights are lost or disrupted and that this early investment has important population and health effects.

Program tools: Visualizing the community and the girls to improve targeting to the poorest girls and increasing value for money.

  • Visualizing data (e.g. mapping community assets, mapping concentrations of vulnerable girls, etc.) is key to establishing a platform from which to build an effective program.
  • Prioritizing the poorest girls in the poorest communities is necessary to ensure that these girls are not overlooked.  This represents the greatest value for money—with data visualization, you can be sure you are actually reaching these girls.

Additional Resources