New resources show how to give girls in poverty a voice

The Girl Consultation Toolkit and Insights Report detail the methods and girl-led evidence behind the Girl Declaration

Two ground-breaking new resources are shining a light on how the global development community can ensure the hardest to reach girls have a voice in the efforts to end poverty.

As global leaders gear up to define the post-2015 development goals, the Girl Consultation Toolkit and Insights Report will show you how to ensure programmes and policies reflect the needs of girls living in poverty.

Ann Warner, from the International Center for Research on Women (ICRW), says: "To design effective programmes and policies, we need to know more about what girls themselves see as critical problems, and also what they see as potential solutions. They're the real experts.

"These resources help to fill gaps in girl-focused research and programming."

You can download the Girl Consultation Toolkit and Insights Report here.

Millennium Development Goals

Kerry Smith from Plan says: "Adolescent girls were neglected by the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

"Given the ways in which the rights of adolescent girls are undermined and violated at such a critical time of life, as well as their ability to effect massive change, they must receive increased attention in the new development agenda.

"The Girl Consultation Toolkit and Insights Report are important contributions towards ensuring that this agenda is realised at both the national and global level and that the voices of girls themselves are brought into the centre of discussions."

Girl Consultation Toolkit

The Girl Consultation toolkit is a how-to guide that tells you everything you need to know about running consultations with girls, from setting up workshops and activities to analysing your findings.

It includes a selection of tools to help individuals and organisations listen to girls, understand their lives and uncover the issues and challenges they face. The activities are flexible and can be used collectively or on their own.

"It was specifically designed with adolescent girls from all over the world in mind," says Adam Glasner, insights manager at the Nike Foundation.

"It proved effective among vulnerable and marginalised girls living in a variety of circumstances: girls in urban or rural locations, girls who are married, with children, girls who are in and out of school, girls from different religions or living in extreme poverty."

Josie Song, from the research company 2CV, adds: "This toolkit provides organisations with the necessary skills to replicate the consultations structure; outlining a range of dynamic and creative techniques to empower girls to speak their minds on complex topics and help change happen."

Insights Report

The Insights Report - I Know. I Want. I Dream: Girls' Insights for Building a Better World - details the methodology and findings from a series of consultations with more than 500 girls aged 10 to 19 from 14 countries around the world.

Ten key themes emerged from adolescent girls during the consultations, which are organised into three overarching categories in the report: girls' identity, girls' environments, and girls' assets and opportunities.

The report analyses what girls think and the changes girls want to see, and summarises evidence that provides context about each theme.

"It's one of the only reports of its kind - there are few publicly available products that start with girls' unique insights about their lives," explains Tieneke van Lonkhuyzen, the Nike Foundation's initiatives manager.

"Qualitative research for adolescent girls usually starts with a problem and a set of assumptions about that problem. Instead, in this instance, qualitative research was utilised to ask big, open-ended questions which led to multiple themes emerging, which originated directly from girls' views."

Girl Declaration

The Girl Consultation Toolkit and Insights Report are the findings behind the Girl Declaration, which calls on world leaders to make girls a priority in the post-2015 development goals. Since its launch at the start of October it has been supported by voices from governments, the corporate sector and voluntary organisations - including Ban Ki-moon, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Richard Branson and Queen Rania of Jordan.

Its success is testament to what can be achieved for girls when they are given a voice.

"Before people design any product, programme or policy for adolescent girls we would encourage them to utilise the report and listen to girls' views," says Tieneke. "The more people who use the Girl Consultation Toolkit in their own research, the more girls will benefit from the results."

Ann Warner from ICRW says these resources can be used by organisations to "start a dialogue among staff and partners about the issues girls might be facing in their communities, to get input from girls to develop girl-centred programming, or to design an advocacy campaign that can convince decision makers to invest in better programmes and policies for girls."

Whatever you use it for, wherever you're working, we'd love to hear feedback about which elements worked particularly well with the girls in your group. So use these resources, share them and let us know the results

Download the Girl Consultation Toolkit and Insights Report

Read and support the Girl Declaration