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Investing Where it Counts: Building Social, Health and Economic Assets for Vulnerable Adolescent Girls in Africa

Investing Where it Counts: Building Social, Health and Economic Assets for Vulnerable Adolescent Girls in Africa



Eunice Muthengi, PhD, MPH, Population Council

Eunice Muthengi, PhD, MPH, Population Council
April 15, 2013



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    Investing Where it Counts: Building Social, Health and Economic Assets for Vulnerable Adolescent Girls in Africa Investing Where it Counts: Building Social, Health and Economic Assets for Vulnerable Adolescent Girls in Africa Presentation Transcript

    • Investing Where it Counts: Building social, health and economic assets for vulnerable adolescent girls in Africa. Eunice Muthengi, PhD, MPH Karen Austrian, MPH Bixby Lecture, UCLA April 15th, 2013
    • The Population Council conducts biomedical, social science, and public health research. We deliver solutions that lead to more effective policies, programs, and technologies that improve lives around the world.
    • Poverty, Gender, and Youth Program Policy-oriented research and programs that improve the lives of vulnerable populations, especially disadvantaged girls
    • Rigorous Research StudiesGirls’ Programming Kenya Effect of social and economic assets 8,000 girls Zambia Adolescent Girls Empowerment Program 10,000 girls Bangladesh • Growing Up Safe and Healthy 10,000 girls • BALIKA 8,600 girls Ethiopia Kenya Increasing age at marriage 5,000 girls Burkina Faso Senegal Increasing age at marriage 5,000 girls ONGOING PLANNED
    • Girls’ Vulnerabilities by Age 12 • As sexual maturation begins, girls are more at risk of abuse at school and unwanted attention in the community • Increasing need for money to cater for personal needs as well as household contribution – leads to increasing pressure for transactional sexual relationships • Girls are expected to take on a larger share of domestic work • School dropout • Social isolation • Loss of peers for girls
    • Additional Vulnerabilities in Adolescence • Early marriage • Adolescent pregnancy • HIV/AIDS • Inability to enroll in/complete secondary school • Inactivity (joblessness) and wage gender wage gap • Gender-based violence
    • School Enrollment among 15-19 Year-Olds in Kenya, (2009 DHS)
    • Dropout Rates for Primary and Secondary Education, Girls
    • Percent of 20-24 Year-Old Kenyans Females who were Married by Age 15 and 18 (‘09 DHS)
    • A Minimum of 60% of Kenyan Girls—50% by age 30—Will Become Sole Supports of Children if Present Trends Continue 0 . 1 10 15 20 25 30 35 40 45 age premarital single motherhood postmarital single motherhood total single motherhood Kenya
    • Early Childbearing • Among 20-24 year- olds, a quarter had begun childbearing by age 18 and half by age 20 • Pregnancy-related complications are leading cause of death for girls aged 15-19 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 15 16 17 18 19 Percent of Girls Age 15-19 Who have Begun Childbearing by Exact Age
    • Returns to Investments in Girls
    • Lifetime Cost of Girl Primary and Secondary Dropout, as % of GDP World Bank, 2011
    • Lifetime Cost of Girl Adolescent Pregnancy of Current Cohort of 15-19 Year Old Girls, as a Share of Annual GDP World Bank, 2011
    • http://www.girleffect.org/
    • Building Girls’ Social, Health and Economic Assets
    • Asset Building Framework Social + Health + Economic Assets -girls need all three Assets are a store of value ASSETS  REDUCE VULNERABILITY ASSETS  EXPAND OPPORTUNITIES
    • Girl platforms are bowls into which you can add many elements. Without this bowl—or platform— very little of sustained value to girls is possible. basic health information Planning control over savings entrepreneurship training Building capacities
    • basic health information Planning control over savings entrepreneurship training Building capacities Health/Human * Knowledge * Skills * New Health Technologies * Introduction to Clinical Services Social Capital * Social connections * Friends * Self Esteem * Mentors * Safety Nets Economic Resources * Financial Capabilities Training * Access to Entitlements * Cash Transfers * Entrepreneurship * Saving Accounts The “Bowl” can be filled with different ingredients, depending on which girls you want to reach
    • Building on Prior Health, Financial Education, and Credit Programs • Savings project builds on a body of work with adolescent girls – both health and livelihood focused • Programs that offered credit were not meeting the economic or social needs of girls • Economic situation often trumps their knowledge of healthy behaviors • Started with Financial Education, but not meeting girls need for safe and secure places to store their money
    • SAVINGS ACCOUNTS • Market research study in June 2007 on savings products for adolescent girls • Girls have money – small/irregular • Safe, trusting, easy to access – if designed right eager for savings account • Want trainings/social activities • Not yet ready for credit • Keeping money at home can be risky
    • Safe and Smart Savings Products for Vulnerable Girls in Kenya & Uganda • Funded by NIKE Foundation • Based on Safe Spaces Model to build girls social, human and economic assets • Groups of 20-25 girls, ages 10- 19 (two segments of groups) • Girls within groups open individual savings accounts • Weekly meetings in safe place provided by FI • Mentors above age of 18 in each group facilitate group meetings and deliver financial education and health training • Parents meetings & fun days • Benefits: ID, homebank, t-shirt, friends
    • Common sources of cash Kenya Uganda Mother 78% 80% Father 55% 54% Other Relatives 38% 36% Own Savings 18% 20% Casual Job 8% 9% Steady Job 3% 3%
    • Financial Education • Critical content component in the safe space group trainings • Earning Money • Saving • Budgeting • Financial Negotiation • Evolving Tools and Delivery Methods • Goal to simplify and streamline delivery of financial education
    • Financial Education and Savings Girls were more likely to save if they had: • Long-term goals • Short-term goals • Savings plan • Said saving is ‘very important’ • Used bank services • A family member who used bank services
    • “You must know why you are saving and must have a plan, don’t save just because people are saving.” Kenyan girl, age 10-14, Lunga Lunga Photo courtesy of the Population Council.
    • “They taught us the different ways of avoiding contracting with the virus and this is a very common topic among the youths because they are the most victims of HIV so this was very useful to me.” UG Girl, age 15-19, Kawampe. Photo courtesy of the Population Council.
    • Protection against Vulnerability and Risk
    • Increase in Girls Using own Savings as Source of Cash KenyaUganda 0% 5% 10% 15% 20% 25% 30% 35% 40% 45% 50% FINCA* Comparison Baseline Endline Follow-up 0% 5% 10% 15% 20% 25% 30% 35% 40% 45% 50% Faulu* Comparison Baseline Endline Follow-up
    • Savings Alone is Potentially Risky • Girls with accounts only (and no group) were more likely to be robbed and harassed by men and boys • Girls need a combination of financial and non- financial services
    • Improvement in social capital and social networks - Uganda • At endline, compared to girls with savings accounts only, girls in groups were: • more likely to agree that people in their neighborhood trust one another • more likely to have someone to borrow money from in an emergency • less likely to have been touched indecently by someone of the opposite sex in their neighborhood
    • Economic+Social+Health Assets Reduces Risks • Able to refuse sexual advances linked to financial gifts • Less dependent on men financially • Having an emergency fund to meet needs
    • Able to refuse sexual advances • What attracted me is that is saving is very helpful because it minimizes chances of boys taking advantage of us in the disguise of giving us money thus protect us from acquiring HIV especially from those who come with such intentions. Ugandan girl, age 10-14, Katwe. • Sometimes a boy can tell you, “let me hold your hand then I will give you 50 bob”…you then tell them, “I have more than that 50 bob you want to give me”. Kenyan girl, age 10-14, Kawangware.
    • Less dependent on men • Personally I joined because at times I can be having a problem and my mother might not be having money at the time then I can be able to help myself out instead of seeking help from a boy who will later you ask for his money you don’t have it at the end of it all he might resort to raping you instead. Ugandan girl, age 10-14, Katwe. • Now they fear me, in most cases what takes us more to these boys is money, now when they see that I have my own money they will not come to me telling me that I will give you 1000 because I will tell them that I have it, don’t even bother. Ugandan girl, age 15-19, Lugazi.
    • Emergency fund • My mum was sick and my dad did not have money so we went and withdrew my money and cleared my mum’s hospital bill. It feels good. Kenyan girl, age 10-14, Kibera. • I can now be able to buy things like sanitary towels on my own without asking for money. Kenyan girl, age 15-19, Kibera. • I can use my saving to pay school fees if mum doesn’t have enough. Kenyan girl, age 10-14, Kibera.
    • What Have We Learned? • Vulnerable girls can save • Girls and parents like the program • Financial education is important with or without a savings account • Should be approached as a life skill
    • Program Expansion • Expansion in Kenya to four new cites (Nakuru, Kisumu, Thika and Kariobangi) • AGEP program in Zambia – randomized cluster design • Study to understand effects of economic assets on sexual behavior and exploitation
    • For more information: http://www.popcouncil.org/projects/48_SafeSmartSavingsVulnerableGirls.asp Sign up to learn more: popcouncil.org/signup ASANTENI – THANK YOU