reaching the girls left behind investing in adolescent girls in congo brazzaville
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In Congo, rural girls have the lowest school enrollment overall ... In Congo, only 20% of 15-19 year old girls in rural areas are attending secondary school ...

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reaching the girls left behind investing in adolescent girls in congo brazzaville

Reaching the Girls Left Behind: Investing in Adolescent Girls in Congo (Brazzaville)

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why is investing in adolescent girls so important
Why is investing in adolescent girls so important?
  • What little policy attention and investment there is in adolescents does not reach the most vulnerable girls
  • Investing in the most vulnerable adolescent girls is a key development and social justice strategy; investments in girls are particularly urgent if national Millennium Development Goals are to be met with respect to:
    • Building a strong economic base, reversing inter-generational poverty (Increased female control of income has far stronger returns to human capital and other investments than comparable income under male control)
    • Achieving universal primary education (the most deprived sector is rural girls)
    • Promoting gender equality (gender based violence and harmful traditional practices drive high and unwanted fertility, maternal mortality, and HIV)
    • Reducing maternal mortality and related infant mortality (selective of youngest and first time mothers)
    • Reversing the rising tide of HIV in young people (girls and young women, including child mothers, are likely to bear an increasing and disproportionate share of HIV infections)
    • Reducing rapid population growth (eliminating child marriage could have a synergistic impact on all three elements of future population growth)
policy context and legal framework
Policy Context and Legal Framework
  • Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) signatory
    • Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) signatory
who are the most vulnerable girls
Who are the most vulnerable girls?
  • Girls (10-14) who are not in school and not living with either parent
  • Girls (10-14) living with neither parent or living with only one parent (usually with their mother)
  • Girls who are not in school, not at grade for age, or otherwise at risk for leaving school
  • Married girls (10-19)
  • Girls living in districts where a significant proportion of girls are married as children (e.g. 10% under 15; 40% under 18)
  • Girls living in districts where a high proportion of first sex is forced or tricked (e.g. over 10%)
  • Girls living in districts with high rates of HIV or other serious illness—putting them at risk of disease; having to cope with social and economic stressors of disease
  • Girls in domestic service or other potentially exploitative work
photo of beneficiaries or program
PHOTO of beneficiaries or program…
  • All data, graphs and maps are drawn from the 2005 Congo Demographic and Health Survey, unless otherwise noted
where are the girls living and with whom do they live
Where are the girls living, and with whom do they live?
  • In Congo, most 10-19 year olds live in urban areas
    • Girls 10-14:
      • 53% live in urban areas
    • Boys 10-14:
      • 49% live in urban areas
    • Girls 15-19:
      • 56% live in urban areas
    • Boys 15-19:
      • 57% live in urban areas
  • 29% of girls, and 25% of boys 10-14 live apart from both their parents
  • 30% of girls, and 35% of boys 10-14 live with only one parent (usually with their mother)
social isolation among young girls greatly increases their vulnerability to exploitation
Social isolation among young girls greatly increases their vulnerability to exploitation
  • In Congo:
    • 3% of all girls 10-14 are not in school and not living with either parent
  • In general:
    • Social isolation increases the vulnerability to exploitation
    • Girls not in school and not living with either parent are at exceptionally high risk of poor health and social outcomes and have less access to social and youth services¹

¹Bruce, Judith and Kelly Hallman. 2008. "Reaching the girls left behind," Gender and Development 16(2): 227–245

slide8
In addition to the educational experience, out-of-school girls lose out on critical social opportunities and friendships with same sex peers
  • In Congo:
    • 18% of all school-aged girls are not in school
    • In some regions up to 21% of school-aged girls are not in school
    • In both urban and rural regions, girls are more likely than boys to be out of school
slide9
School enrollment differs—often drastically—by gender, age and area of residence (Percent Enrolled in School)
  • In Congo, rural girls have the lowest school enrollment overall
  • School drop-out increases among both rural and urban girls around age 13
school enrollment among 15 19 year olds
School Enrollment among 15-19 Year Olds
  • In Congo, only 20% of 15-19 year old girls in rural areas are attending secondary school
  • 38% of all girls 15-19 are not in school; girls are more likely to be out of school than boys
  • In general, girls who are out of school or significantly behind are more likely to be married and have children, engage in sexual activity and less likely to access basic health and other services²

²Lloyd, Cynthia B. 2004. “Schooling and Adolescent Reproductive Behavior in Developing Countries,” paper commissioned for the United Nations Millennium Project. New York: Population Council.http://www.unmillenniumproject.org/documents/CBLloyd-final.pdf

child marriage among 20 24 year old females
Child Marriage among 20-24 Year Old Females
  • Marriage under age 18 is considered illegal child marriage according to CRC and CEDAW- Congo is signatory to both
  • In Congo:
    • 11% of girls are married by 15 in some regions;
    • 40% of rural girls and 24% of urban girls are married by 18
  • In general:
    • Child marriage is often justified by gender norms and economic conditions
    • Being out of school at 10-14 is a risk factor for child marriage in some settings
    • What investment there is in girls usually stops at marriage
    • Married girls are rarely in school and the youngest first time mothers and their children are at particularly high risk of poor outcomes³

³ Haberland, Nicole. 2007. “Supporting Married Girls, Calling Attention to a Neglected Group” Transitions to Adulthood, Brief 3. Population Council

illiteracy among females 15 24 married by 15
Illiteracy among Females (15-24) Married by 15
  • In Congo, illiteracy rates among girls married by 15 are as high as 66%; 21% of all 15-19 year old girls are illiterate
  • In general illiteracy rates among girls married by 15 are higher than for their unmarried peers
  • Policy has often given more attention to unmarried girls than to the rights of schooling for married girls
slide13
HIV Prevalence and Testing among Females 15-24 Years Old(Percent of females (15-24) who have had an HIV test in the past year)
  • In Congo, HIV prevalence among 15-24 year old females is 2.3% , while for men it is 0.8% (a ratio of 3:1)⁴
  • Nationally, less than 2% of 15-19 year olds and 5% of 20-24 year olds had an HIV test in the past year
  • In general, in Sub-Saharan Africa the HIV epidemic is increasingly affecting young, poorer females

⁴ Epidemiological Fact Sheet on HIV and AIDS: Congo 2008 http://www.who.int/GlobalAtlas/predefinedReports/EFS2008/index.asp

delivery assistance among 20 24 year olds assistance varies by mother s residence
Delivery Assistance among 20-24 Year Olds:Assistance Varies by Mother’s Residence
  • In Congo 86% of urban 20-24 year olds and only 56% of rural 20-24 year olds received assistance from a health professional at last birth
the girls we are most interested in and why
The Girls We Are Most Interested In, and Why:
  • Who are they?
  • What are the conditions and status that most concern the organization?
our interventions include
Our Interventions Include:
  • Input:
  • Intensity: (How often, how many)
at the level of girls we hope to
At the Level of Girls We Hope to:
  • Expected Results at the level of the girls
slide21
Additional Resources:

Bruce, Judith and Erica Chong. 2006. "The diverse universe of adolescents, and the girls and boys left behind: A note on research, program and policy priorities," background paper to the report Public Choices, Private Decisions: Sexual and Reproductive Health and the Millennium Development Goals. New York: UN Millennium Project.  offsite PDF: www.unmillenniumproject.org/documents/Bruce_and_Chong-final.pdf

Chong, Erica, Kelly Hallman, and Martha Brady.  2006.  Investing When it Counts Generating the evidence base for policies and programmes for very young adolescents. New York : UNFPA and Population Council. http://www.popcouncil.org/pdfs/InvestingWhenItCounts.pdf

Lloyd, Cynthia B. 2004. “Schooling and Adolescent Reproductive Behavior in Developing Countries,” paper commissioned for the United Nations Millennium Project. New York: Population Council.http://www.unmillenniumproject.org/documents/CBLloyd-final.pdf

Meyers, Carey. 2000. Adolescent Girls' Livelihoods. Essential Questions, Essential Tools: A Report on a Workshop. New York and Washington, DC: Population Council and the International Center for Research on Women.  www.popcouncil.org/pdfs/adoles.pdf

Building Assets for Safe, Productive Lives: A Report on a Workshop on Adolescent Girls' Livelihoods.  www.popcouncil.org/pdfs/BuildingAssets_Oct05.pdf

Promoting Healthy, Safe, and Productive Transitions to Adulthood, series of briefs all available at www.popcouncil.org/gfd/TA_Briefs_List.html

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