With support from the Nike Foundation, Save the Children (SC) has been implementing a 3-year adolescent girls’ empowerment project, Kishoree Kontha (Adolescent Girl’s Voice), in south-central Bangladesh since May 2006. This project was added to a holistic food security program called Jibon-O-Jibika that is funded by USAID in three districts: Barisal, Patuakhali and Bhola.
Kishoree Kontha provides SC with a unique opportunity to leverage its existing food security program to address the needs of Bangladeshi adolescent girls aged 10 to 19. The project operates in five sub-districts of three districts (Babugonj and Muladi of Barisal district, Sadar and Bauphal of Patuakhali district and Sadar of Bhola district). The primary target group is an estimated 45,000 adolescent girls ages 10-19; the secondary target groups include parents, community and religious leaders, teachers, local governments, non-governmental organizations, village health service providers and marriage registers and matchmakers.
The Kishoree Kontha project focuses on the holistic development of adolescent girls by giving them strong voices that will help them shape bright and healthy futures. This holistic development approach focuses on five main strategies: community mobilization; literacy and school learning support; developing social networks and life skills; increasing readiness for livelihood opportunities; and providing incentives to delay the age of marriage. The first four strategies of the project will be implemented at the field level through two partners: the Bangladesh Development Society and Padakhep Manabik Unnayan Kendra (Padakhep). Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) ,the research partner of this project, and Save the Children will implement the final component, delaying the age of marriage, by providing food for families with unmarried adolescent girls through SC’s existing food security program. The implementation of these strategies will be randomized with control groups; both livelihoods readiness and provision of incentives will be monitored for their value-add to the others.
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