Strong Girls, Powerful Women

Program Planning and Design for Adolescent Girls in Humanitarian Settings

Authored by: Kathryn Paik

Categories: Humanitarian Emergencies, Violent Conflict
Sub-Categories: Disaster Risk Reduction and Resilience (DRRR), Human Development, Post-Conflict Reconstruction
Country: Ethiopia, Tanzania, Uganda
Region: Sub-Saharan Africa
Year: 2014
Citation: Paik, Kathryn. Strong Girls, Powerful Women: Powerful Planning and Design for Adolescent Girls in Humanitarian Settings. New York: Women’s Refugee Commission, June 2014.

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Executive Summary

In most countries, adolescent girls face disadvantages compared to their male peers in family roles, divisions of labor, and access to resources because they are female and young. In conflict and displacement settings, the institutions, systems, and community cohesion that normally supports girls’ development, protects them from violence, and uphold their human rights, are weakened or destroyed. Yet, adolescent girls in humanitarian settings should not just be seen as a vulnerable group; girls possess an enormous capacity for becoming a source of transformation in their families and communities. Growing evidence supports that investing in girls’ economic and social empowerment can reduce their risks of experiencing violence and is an effective pathway to sustainable development. Likewise, conflict and crisis situations often lead to shifting gender roles that open up possibilities for positive social changes, resulting in an opportunity for gender norms to change for the better.