Its interventions address individuals, communities, local government representatives, and policymakers through the health sector, schools, communities, and demographic researchers. This reflects the importance of socio-ecological approaches to sustainably reduce girls’ risks, based on evidence from the Council and elsewhere.
Recognizing that individuals underlie the summary statistics shared above, the bulk of the Council’s inputs and the largest SWEDD components directly engage community members and adolescent girls and young women (AGYW). Through life skills training in mentor-led safe spaces (espaces surs) groups in communities and schools, mentors aim to equip AGYW with knowledge, skills, and assets to empower them and enable them to navigate risk. In an effort to reap the proven benefits of gender-transformative programming, we support partners to create synergies between safe spaces and SWEDD clubs for husbands and future husbands (clubs des maris et des futurs maris).
Looking ahead: Using early SWEDD lessons to sustain and scale country-owned action
As country-level actors implement the second phase of SWEDD and plans for the third phase take shape, Population Council, along with other technical partners, has a continuing role in promoting evidence, good practice, and learning. Given SWEDD’s large size and ongoing expansion, it will be important to build upon the essential enablers of program success to continue to sustain and scale country-owned action. The multi-sectoral and multi-leveled approach offers countries the opportunity to bring evidence-informed practice together in intentionally selected geographies or ‘hot spots’. Governments in participating countries lead the charge, demonstrating their commitment to SWEDD goals through the involvement of multiple ministries and laying a foundation for sustainability. Furthermore, ownership of SWEDD extends to communities and local opinion leaders including through the active participation of religious leaders in many countries, accounting for the strong influence of community norms in influencing the impact of adolescent girl programming.
At this stage, it is equally vital that lessons from the early days of SWEDD are available and informing expansion, leveraging the regional aspect of the initiative. The Council continues to advance this objective by facilitating cross-learning between country-level stakeholders, documenting and disseminating lessons on ‘safe spaces’ implementation, and using implementation science to identify and expand effective practices that will be feasible and sustainable in SWEDD settings.
Click here to learn more about the Council’s role in the World Bank’s SWEDD Initiative.
This Research Spotlight is also available in French. Originally published in A3 Insights.
¹Figure up to date as of 10/20.
²SWEDD III is currently being planned for Senegal, Congo-Brazzaville, Togo, Gambia.