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This toolkit has benefitted greatly from the participation of the adolescent girls themselves, whose authentic, field-based perspective shaped the approach, refreshed our understanding, influenced the style and sequencing of delivery, and contributed original, new assets. It has also benefitted from the insights of members of the Population Council’s Adolescent Girls.
The development field has recently recognized the importance of working with adolescent girls to reach national and international development goals. As a result, implementing organizations are motivated to design programs for girls, but content may be adopted from material for other audiences and other contexts, be insufficiently specific or be limited to health information without the enabling social, economic, and cognitive skills needed to secure girls’ health and rights as well as wider social and economic opportunities.
An “asset-building exercise” is a thoughtful approach to building meaningful program content.
It is designed to involve multiple stakeholders in determining what assets girls need in order to survive and thrive. When conducted using reliable data about girls (the proportion married by age 15, by 18, living apart from parents, in school, etc.), this activity allows you to think concretely about the most appropriate content for your target population (Bruce and Hallman 2008; Austrian and Ghati 2010; designingforscale.popcouncil.org). For example, you may be concerned about a high rate of adolescent pregnancy, because girls who have children at a young age often have poor outcomes and limited access to resources.