The Summit Foundation, in partnership with other stakeholders, seeks to empower marginalized girls by transforming their social, reproductive and economic lives.
The major portion of our funding is focused in Belize, Guatemala, Honduras and Quintana Roo, Mexico, which mirror the countries of our Conserving the Mesoamerican Reef program. These countries have large populations of marginalized girls, and a dearth of resources to advance needed policies and programs that will enhance girls’ equality and adolescent sexual and reproductive health (ASRH). We also support a small number of organizations focused on expanding international, Latin American and U.S. commitments to empowering girls and ASRH, including an emphasis on youth participation in global processes.
We are motivated to focus on girls both because it is right and by the evidence: economies will grow, poverty rates will decline, health indicators of women and children will improve and the environment will benefit. In addition to the poverty, constrained economic opportunities, violence and lack of SRH services that face both boys and girls in Central America, too many girls confront additional cultural, structural and policy barriers that impede educational and livelihood opportunities, lead to child marriage/early unions and adolescent pregnancies, and trigger gender-based and sexual violence and other adverse health outcomes, like maternal death.
For Summit, empowering girls will demand continued focus on ASRH and supporting youth leadership, but with greater attention to gender equality. Our objectives and key actions are closely aligned with the emphasis of UNFPA’s State of the World Population 2013 (SWOP), which is entitled, “Motherhood in Childhood: Facing the Challenge of Adolescent Pregnancy.” The report emphasizes the need to address the underlying determinants and drivers of high adolescent pregnancy rates, all of which are relevant in Central America, particularly its rural areas. These include: gender inequality, poverty, sexual violence and coercion, child marriage/early unions, girls’ exclusion from educational and job opportunities, negative attitudes and stereotypes about adolescent girls/women, and failing to take into account the role of boys and men.
From among the following best practices integral to healthy adolescent development, The Summit Foundation's grantmaking priorities place particular emphasis on those marked with a “*”. Research indicates that programs developed with careful consideration given to the mix of strategies will have the most powerful impact on girls’ equality and adolescent sexual and reproductive health.
Latest Updates About Empowering Girls
- July 15, 2016 Millions Learning: Scaling Up Quality Education in Developing Countries, 2016. This report presents research on where and how quality education interventions have scaled in low- and middle-income countries. Building on the report are 12 case studies, which provide in-depth profiles of the programs and policies explored in the report.… Read More »
- May 22, 2016 Through its online platform, the Coalition for Adolescent Girls brings together more than 30 international organizations that design, implement and evaluate programs that benefit adolescent girls throughout the developing world who are trapped in cycles of poverty. Since its inception in 2005, the Coalition’s members have come together, using their diverse perspectives and resources to influence and inform donors, policy-makers and other key decision-makers to create lasting change by addressing adolescent girls’ need for support and their potential to change the world.… Read More »
- April 29, 2016 Toolkit for Meaningful Adolescent Girl Engagement, 2015. Intended as a resource for practitioners, policy-makers, advocates, researchers, donors and governments, this toolkit describes how to strategically and meaningfully engage adolescent girls in the leadership and development of their communities, nations, and the world. … Read More »
- January 29, 2016 This joint initiative between the International Center for Research on Women and the World Bank seeks to expand the global evidence base regarding the economic impacts of child marriage. The project’s website features extensive data collection and analysis on the economic costs of child marriage, including opportunity and financial costs, costs for health care systems, lost earnings, lower growth potential, and the perpetuation of poverty.… Read More »
- June 30, 2015 Creating Spaces for Youth-Led Advocacy on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights: A Guatemalan Case Study, 2014. This report shares lessons learned about improving meaningful participation of youth in debates about adolescent and youth sexuality, gleaned from Guatemala’s first youth summit on ASRH, an event which marked an important benchmark for coordinated youth advocacy with political leaders on ASRH in the country.… Read More »