Girls Deliver: Pre-Conference on Adolescent Girls

July 16, 2023

8:00 am-5:00 pm

Kigali, Rwanda

Jump to: RecapAboutThematic Roundtable Sessions │ Programme






There are 1.8 billion adolescents and youth around the world today—the largest in history. Yet the adolescents and youth that represent the world’s future—especially girls and women in all their diversity—continue to face major global challenges, and the ecosystem of stakeholders supporting them remains fragmented. “Girls Deliver: Pre-Conference on Adolescent Girls,” led by the Population Council GIRL Center and co-hosted by AFIDEP, AMPLIFY Girls, Baobab Research Programme Consortium, Children’s Investment Fund Foundation, Coalition for Adolescent Girls, Exemplars in Global Health, FP2030, Girl Effect, Girls First Fund, Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, National Democratic Institute (NDI), Plan International, PMNCH, Purposeful, Together for Girls, UNICEF, Women Deliver, and The World Bank Africa Gender Innovation Lab, convened the community of global stakeholders representing a variety of perspectives on supporting adolescent lives in the lead up to the Women Deliver 2023 Conference, and in view of the upcoming Global Forum for Adolescents.

The Pre-Conference created a dedicated space for multi-sectoral conversations elevating voices of adolescents and other stakeholders from low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), fostered solidarity within the community, and drove evidence-based solutions. The event  cultivated a multidimensional approach to adolescent well-being, co-created next steps to build an integrated feminist ecosystem for adolescents, and catalyzed action to advance gender equality.

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Thematic Roundtable Sessions

Adolescent Mothers: From Cautionary Tales to Partners

Organized by Hilton Foundation

In this session, participants will have the opportunity to engage in a conversation about moving from a beneficiary model to a partnership model in their work with young mothers and their children. We will explore what it would look like to do this in their own practice and the benefits it would create- for young mothers, their children, and work to advance social change. Co-moderators will briefly share key insights from research focused on young mothers – In Her Words: Listening to Young Mothers in Kenya, Mozambique and Tanzania and ongoing research focused on young mothers’ roles in social movements. Both bodies of work rely on the stories and narratives as told directly by young mothers and tell us 1) the challenges young mothers, and their children, face; 2) the solutions they propose to these challenges and recommendations for their communities, programs, policy makers, and funders, and 3) how young mothers are already engaging in and leading movements and social change efforts in their communities and beyond. Discussants, who are young mothers engaged in social change work, will reflect on the findings and how those engaged in programming, policy and funding can translate these findings into better practice. After hearing initial insights from research and reflections from young mothers, participants will have the opportunity to reflect on what this means for their own work and how they can work in deeper partnership with young mothers to advance their efforts.

Data Brief


Adolescent Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights

Organized by AFIDEP, FP2030, Plan International, UNICEF

This roundtable discussion titled “The Services We Want vs. What We’ve Got. An Adolescent’s Tale of a Successful ASRHR Intervention” aims to provide a platform for in-depth discussions on adolescent sexual and reproductive health and rights (ASRHR), with a particular focus on promoting adolescent engagement in ASRH services. The session seeks to generate a call to action directed at leaders, researchers, and SRHR agencies, urging them to prioritize the development and implementation of effective and tailored ASRHR interventions, programs, policies, and packages. Through this collaborative effort, the roundtable discussion seeks to advance the agenda of empowering adolescents and ensuring their access to comprehensive ASRHR services that meet their specific needs and preferences.

Data Brief



Organized by AMPLIFY Girls

The concept of agency, or a girl’s ability to take action and effect change in her own life and community, is often overlooked. This is due to agency being seen as a byproduct of other interventions or a prerequisite for empowerment, rather than a complex outcome with psychological and behavioral dimensions. Additionally, there is limited research on how oppositional forces in a girl’s unique context can constrain and define her agency, and how measures can be adapted to account for this contextual variation. The AMPLIFY Girls Agency roundtable will provide a unique opportunity to learn about current trends in girl centric programming with an emphasis on adolescent girls’ agency. We hope that participants will learn about how components of building agency can be integrated across a diverse range of programs; what research is emerging for adolescent girls pointing towards girls agency; and practical tools participants can use.

Data Brief


Feminism, Political Power and Adolescent Girls: A Push Back against the Co-option of Girls’ Activism

Organized by Purposeful

Across the world, girls are reclaiming spaces and institutions of power and resisting authoritarian regimes. Traditional programming that we see in the international development field does not speak to girls’ political organising and activism. It increasingly adopts the language of girls’ movements, power and activism yet it is not responding to their realities. In this session we will hear from girl activists, funders and practitioners and explore the difference between resourcing resistance and funding development programs. We will open a space for honest critique and reflection on how girls’ activism is being sustained and, taking an ecosystem approach, what our roles should be as adult allies and formal institutions in girls’ political power.

Suggested reading: Report, Article


Economic Empowerment

Organized by World Bank Africa Gender Innovation Lab

This session will explore what economic empowerment means for diverse segments of adolescent girls, why laying the foundation for later economic achievements is critical during adolescence, and what this looks like in terms of building adolescent girls’ resources and agency while taking into account their context. Adolescent girls differ along multiple dimensions (including their school attendance, engagement in work, transitions to marriage, and childbearing) and they live in a diverse range of contexts with varied cultural, social, legal, and economic environments. Differences in adolescent girls’ experiences and contexts have important implications for their levels of economic empowerment as well as for appropriate approaches to integrate support for economic empowerment into the design of programs and policies to enhance adolescent girls’ wellbeing. The lead discussants will share insights from a forthcoming CGD, Population Council, World Bank report on adolescent girls’ economic empowerment in Africa and from CGAP’s work analyzing segments of adolescent girls and young women to identify how to maximize the impact of financial inclusion, integrating an adolescent girl’s perspective on critical considerations for effective program and policy implementation, and inviting participants to share their perspectives, experiences, and suggestions.

Data Brief



Organized by Population Council and Girls First Fund

Education is closely tied with equity, with women and girls’ empowerment, and with social justice. This roundtable will be a pivotal discussion exploring the urgent need for a feminist approach to education as we strive to dismantle societal and structural obstacles that hinder progress. A panel of leading practitioners, researchers, funders, and activists will share how their work is providing a pathway to a more inclusive and empowered educational landscape, one where all children are learning, and how we can collectively work towards advancing gender equity in and through education.

Data Brief


Gender-based Violence in Adolescence

Organized by Together for Girls and Baobab Research Programme Consortium

This roundtable will share, distil, and discuss strategies and explore concrete examples and opportunities for using national-level data on gender-based violence and intersecting issues to drive advocacy to prevent and end GBV, with a focus on adolescents and youth. The roundtable discussion will challenge ideas around what constitutes “data & evidence”, explore barriers and opportunities to accessing and utilizing data & evidence for advocacy, and share concrete examples of data/evidence driven-advocacy among both featured speakers and participants. The session will provide opportunities for substantive exchange and learning between adolescent and youth advocates, activists, and practitioners working in the GBV prevention and response and policy advocacy spaces.

Data Brief


Girls in Humanitarian Settings

Organized by Plan International

The roundtable session will allow girls from WACA (West and Central Africa) and MEESA (Middle East, East and Southern Africa) to demonstrate how their rights to protection from gender-based violence (GBV) are critical to achieving humanitarian objectives in other sectors, such as child survival and education. The Panel will share how the risks of gender-based violence (GBV), including sexual violence, child, early and forced marriages and unions (CEFMU), and female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C), have increased with the hunger crisis -plaguing many parts of the continent. It calls for the rights of children, adolescents and young people to protection from GBV before, during and after disasters and conflicts. The conversations will be guided by two studies; Adolescent Girls in Crisis: Voices from the Sahel (2020) (Report, Technical Report) and Beyond Hunger: The Gendered Impacts of the Global Hunger Crisis (2023), that will provide an overview of the experiences of adolescent girls’ from WACA and MEESA in different crisis contexts. References will also be made to the ongoing WACA Gendered impact of Climate Change on adolescent girls in the Sahel studies. The session will be led by four girls, two from each region, who will share their experiences and key asks with other stakeholders. An adolescent girl from one of the regions (WACA/ MEESA) will be selected to moderate the session.

Data Brief


Girls in the Digital Space

Organized by Girl Effect

Digital technologies are providing new pathways to engage girls and get them the information, connections and tools they need. Yet many of these solutions are created without girls’ input. What if instead, we asked girls for their advice, ideas and feedback from the very start of the design process? What if we changed the model to build products for and with them? Join Girl Effect and members of their youth community for a hands-on, interactive session that explores the co-creation process and helps identify solutions and approaches for both rural and urban settings.

Data Brief


Government Integration

Organized by CIFF and FP2030

Policy integration in government is central to realising the interrelated sustainable development goals and presents a key governance challenge. Effective policy integration is even more critical given the range of expertise from different institutions and sectors required to tackle SDGs and demands for more innovative, responsive, and equitable service delivery, which transcend the competencies of individual government institutions and ministries. Bringing about the delivery of integrated policies and resulting service delivery is a daunting challenge, especially for adolescents in developing countries where administrative silos are prevalent. Elaborating a dense set of linkages between sub-national, national, regional, and global governance arrangements is essential in promoting policy and service delivery integration efforts. This session will help establish a baseline understanding of the capacity of governments to pursue policy integration in the context of empowerment, education, health, and wellness-related social determinants for adolescent girls.

Data Brief


Holistic Approach to Adolescent Girls’ Health

Organized by Exemplars in Global Health

This roundtable discussion will focus on holistic approaches to adolescent health and wellbeing, based on the research framework of the new Exemplars in Global Health Women’s Health and Wellbeing project. Asha George, (Professor at the University of the Western Cape and Technical Advisory Group chair of this project) will give a brief overview of the framework, which defines health and wellbeing across 10 interconnected dimensions. She will then facilitate a panel discussion on success stories in meeting adolescent needs across dimensions, joined by Caroline Kabiru (African Population and Health Research Center), Merette Khalil (White Ribbon Alliance), and Faith Malenga (Girls Empowerment Network, Youth Advisor for the Adolescent Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights Exemplars (ASHER) project at EGH). This session will be collaborative and allow ample time for audience discussion and feedback. We look forward to hearing how you’ve incorporated holistic approaches to adolescent health and wellbeing in your work!

Data Brief


Meaningful Adolescent Girl Engagement

Organized by PMNCH

This round table discussion aims to provide a platform for adolescents to share lived experiences and to deliver curated insights from PMNCH partners on successful practices of creating safe and inclusive spaces for adolescent voices, by employing Meaningful Adolescent and Youth Engagement (MAYE) guidelines, and to discuss solutions on how to ensure policy makers leverage existing resources and mechanisms such as through the 1.8 Campaign and the upcoming Global Forum for Adolescents to facilitate increased stakeholder ownership for meaningful adolescents engagement.

Data Brief


Success Stories of Girls-led Climate Action, Their Impact on Their Communities, and Global Advocacy Movements

Organized by UNICEF and PMNCH

The roundtable session will focus on spotlighting success stories, innovative solutions, and best practices for girls-led climate action at the local and global level and their impact on their communities and international climate change advocacy efforts. The session will spotlight the actions of adolescent girls, in climate emergency situations, highlighting the challenges they face and the mechanisms they use to adapt, including using advocacy to fight the climate and gender injustices. Aligned with the growing call to action of the “1.8 Billion Young People for Change” Campaign, a global adolescents and youth-led movement, the roundtable discussion will also explore how these local innovations can be scaled up and shared more widely to have a greater impact on climate action, and how young women are pioneering a human rights approach to climate change. The discussion will spotlight the need for more and better climate action to address the comprehensive and holistic components of adolescent well-being, including multisectoral coordinated action from health, nutrition, education, environment, social welfare, and social protection.

Data Brief




08:00 – 08:30 Registration

08:30 – 09:45 Opening session

Master of Ceremonies:

  • Divina Maloum, Adolescent activist from Cameroon
  • Lalita Tamang, Adolescent leader from Nepal


  • Vanessa Nakate, climate justice activist and UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador
  • Condolizzarice Akumawah, Adolescent advocate from Cameroon
  • Kalpa Garg, Adolescent leader from India
  • Malala Yousafzai, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and Co-Founder of Malala Fund
  • Stacey Abrams, NDI board member, political and nonprofit leader

09:45 – 10:30 Plenary panel


  • Karen Austrian, GIRL Center Director (moderator)
  • Yosimbom Jania Ney, Adolescent Activist from Cameroon
  • Caroline Kabiru, Head of Population Dynamics and Reproductive Health, African Population and Health Research Center
  • Maliha Khan, President and CEO, Women Deliver
  • Ritika Dhall, Head of Gender Equality, Norwegian Directorate for Development Co-operation
  • Hana Brixi, Global Director for Gender Equality, The World Bank Group

10:50 – 12:05 Concurrent thematic roundtables (Round 1)

  • Adolescent Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (AFIDEP, FP2030, Plan International, UNICEF)—Room: Lemigo 1
  • Feminism, Political Power and Adolescent Girls: A Push Back against the Co-option of Girls’ Activism (Purposeful)—Room: Kivu
  • Success Stories of Girls-led Climate Action, Their Impact on Their Communities, and Global Advocacy Movements (UNICEF, PMNCH)—Room: Burera
  • Economic Empowerment (World Bank Africa Gender Innovation Lab)—Room: Ruhondo
  • Government Integration (CIFF, FP2030)—Room: Nasho
  • Gender-based Violence in Adolescence (Together for Girls, Baobab)—Room: Nyungwe

12:15 – 13:30 Concurrent thematic roundtables (Round 2)

  • Meaningful Adolescent and Girl Engagement (PMNCH)—Room: Kivu
  • Adolescent Mothers: From Cautionary Tales to Partners (Hilton Foundation)—Room: Nasho
  • Agency (AMPLIFY Girls)—Room: Muhazi
  • Education (Population Council, Girls First Fund)—Room: Burera
  • Girls in Humanitarian Settings (Plan International)—Room: Lemigo 1
  • Girls in the Digital Space (Girl Effect)—Room: Ruhondo
  • Holistic Approach to Adolescent Girls’ Health (Exemplars in Global Health)—Room: Nyungwe

13:30 – 14:30 Lunch break

14:30 – 14:45 Reflections from morning & guidance for small group discussions

15:00 – 16:00 Small group discussions

16:00 – 16:30 Closing plenary

16:30 – 18:00 Social hour & Adolescent Expo

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