Equality for Women and Girls
The Population Council
The Population Council launched Abriendo Oportunidades (“Opening Opportunities”) in 2004. Based on evidence generated through research, the Abriendo Oportunidades program creates safe spaces for girls at the community level and reaches adolescent girls with an asset-based curriculum implemented by a community mentor– a young woman from the community that serves as an alternative role model for girls. The program has been running for twelve years, and has reached close to 14,000 adolescent girls in 150 communities. By training girl leaders to mentor and build the skills of their peers, Abriendo uses a participatory approach to empower Mayan girls to stay in school, avoid child marriage, adolescent pregnancy and gender violence, and develop employment and life skills.
In 2016, with Summit’s support, the Population Council began the Toledo Adolescent Girls Program in Belize, targeting the rural Toledo District which has extremely problematic girl indicators. The goal is to design and evaluate an evidence-based intervention that measures girl-level changes on levels of educational attainment and rates of child marriage and unintended pregnancy. The programming will go for eighteen months and results of the evaluation are expected by April 2019.
Photo © Aiken Chew for Population Council
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