The Coalition for Adolescent Girls
- There are 1.2 billion adolescents aged 10 to 19. In fact, today’s youth generation is the largest in history and half of them are girls. While children aged 0 to 5 have received great focus from the international community for decades and women have gained increasingly strong attention on the global development agenda, a “girl gap” persists over the period of adolescence. Development assistance has historically bypassed adolescent girls by grouping them with women or children, but not as a category of their own.
- Research shows that participants and beneficiaries of “youth” programs are primarily male, sometimes by as much as 80-90 percent meaning that programming that targets adolescents as a broad category generally fails to reach girls. When programming does target adolescent girls, often it is only those already in positions of privilege that are able to take part. The most vulnerable girls, such as those who are married, indigenous, or live in rural areas, are the hardest to reach.
- Adolescence is a critical period, when a girl’s future potential and opportunities can flourish through education, economic opportunities, and psychosocial support. Or, that potential can be stunted and stifled by the irreversible effects of child marriage, early pregnancy, HIV, and other preventable hardships. Fulfilling the rights of adolescent girls to health, education, and protection from violence and abuse-ensures they have the chance to achieve their physical, emotional, and social potential, and can go on to become empowered women who can support their families, communities, and countries.
- Less than two cents of every development dollar goes to programs specifically for adolescent girls, but they are the key to breaking the cycle of poverty. The five founders of the Coalition for Adolescent Girls sought to fill that gap in development assistance through concerted, innovative efforts to drive support towards millions of adolescent girls in the poorest communities.