Girl-centered program design toolkit

Fresh ideas on how to strengthen programme activities when working directly or indirectly with girls.

Compared with their male counterparts, adolescent girls face poorer health outcomes, are more likely to become infected with HIV, are more socially isolated, less likely to make the transition to secondary school or to complete it, and have fewer income-generating opportunities. To help them, especially vulnerable adolescent girls, programmes must be designed with them as the target audience - that's what this toolkit is for.

It can be used by anyone who is designing or running a programme, someone writing a proposal to work with girls, or staff working directly with girls who need fresh ideas on how to strengthen programme activities. It can be used by people who are starting to work with girls in a targeted way for the first time, or those who already have a girls programme but are trying to strengthen or expand it.


"Girls tend to receive the maximum benefit when the programmes they participate in are girl-only because they feel free to open up, express themselves, ask any questions and take on leadership roles that they might not otherwise. Additionally, girls have significantly less access to safe public space in a community compared with boys. As puberty starts, girls' lives typically become more restricted to the domestic sphere whereas boys' worlds start to expand. Girls tend to not feel as safe, comfortable, or in control in public spaces or in mixed company as their male age-mates and often culture dictates that they defer to males. Therefore, a girls programme provides girls with a place to gather, learn and grow that they do not otherwise have access to."

Authored by:

Population Council