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Enhancing the Benefits of Girls' Livelihood Initiatives. Promoting Healthy, Safe, and Productive Transitions to Adulthood
This docuent shares case studies from the Council's work (with NGOs such as CARE) on adolescent girl livelihoods during the past decade and summarizes valuable lessons to guide current and future programs.
- Instead of applying adult programs to adolescents ("junior micro-finance"), programs should consider participants' age, sex, life-cycle stage, and other contextual cues.
- Social support should be an integral feature of adolescent livelihood programs; a mentoring component can multiply the economic benefits gained.
- Reaching the most vulnerable adolescents is a challenge because program participants are typically better-off economically, older, attending school, and male.
- One way to encourage the participation of marginalized young people is to promote a phased model through which entry-level programs provide a safe and supportive space where young people can gather; offer opportunities for individual, voluntary savings; and impart training in life skills, financial literacy, and health education.
- When they feel ready, adolescents can participate in more demanding options: goal-oriented savings, vocational and business-skills training, and micro-credit.
- A phased approach may be the most nurturing option and may prove the most effective.
- Program planners should not overlook the value of mentors and role models.