“We Don’t Walk in Separate Lines Anymore, We Walk Together”: Engaging Families to Build the Protective Assets of Adolescent Girls in Humanitarian Settings

Authored by: Women's Refugee Commission

Categories: Global Public Health, Human Rights, Humanitarian Emergencies
Sub-Categories: Human Development, Migration, Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV)
Region: No Region
Year: 2022
Citation: "'We Don’t Walk in Separate Lines Anymore, We Walk Together': Engaging Families to Build the Protective Assets of Adolescent Girls in Humanitarian Settings." Women's Refugee Commission. April 2022.

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Executive Summary

Gender-based violence (GBV) programming for adolescent girls in humanitarian settings often seeks to mitigate risks and build protective assets at the individual level. While these approaches are essential, it is also well known that adolescent girls’ lives are strongly influenced by those around them. The household is the primary ecosystem in which adolescent girls’ lives unfold, presenting both risks and opportunities for girls’ physical and mental health, resilience, gender equity, and protection from violence.

The Sibling Support for Adolescent Girls in Emergencies (SSAGE) Program was collaboratively designed by the Women’s Refugee Commission (WRC), Mercy Corps, and Washington University at St. Louis to challenge intergenerational cycles of violence and prevent future violence against adolescent girls through a novel gender-transformative, whole-family support approach. Since 2020, the SSAGE Program has been implemented with conflict-affected communities in Nigeria, Niger, and Jordan. SSAGE is complemented by mixed-methods research to understand successes and challenges in terms of program contextualization and implementation, as well as outcomes related to gender equity, protection, family functioning, and mental health and psychosocial well-being. Preliminary findings from this research suggest several key areas in which donors, policymakers, and humanitarian actors can harness the positive influence of household members to build adolescent girls’ protective assets. Since its launch in 2020, the SSAGE Program has reached a total of 1,353 participants in Nigeria, Niger, and Jordan: 390 adolescent girls, 386 male siblings, 295 female caregivers, and 282 male caregivers.