Go Girls! on Top 50 List for Improving the Lives of Girls and Women

Three girls in Oyingbo, Lagos, Nigeria. © 2015 NYPhotonDesign, Courtesy of Photoshare

Go Girls! Initiative has been selected as one of the “Women Deliver 50,” a compilation of the 50 most inspiring ideas and solutions that are delivering for girls and women across the globe. Women Deliver, a global advocacy organization, today announced the winning selections. The winners were chosen out of hundreds of online nominations from 103 countries, and narrowed down to 125 finalists which were voted on by more than 6,000 individuals through online voting.

“The solutions on this list show that with ingenuity, drive and dedication, we can build a better world for girls and women,” said Jill Sheffield, Women Deliver Founder and President. “We are proud to celebrate these organizations and programs, which are pioneering real, lasting, social change at the local and global levels. We have seen time and time again that when we invest in girls and women, entire societies benefit.”

The “Women Deliver 50” list showcases advocacy campaigns; health interventions; technologies; educational initiatives and leadership programs. The initiatives, which range from grassroots to global, are led by social entrepreneurs, civil society, governments, international agencies and private companies.

“Go Girls! Initiative stands out as a unique, comprehensive program that demonstrates how to reduce girls’ vulnerability to HIV/AIDS,” explains Dr. Carol Underwood, Project Director of Go Girls! “Not only did the project develop a set of field-tested tools which are available online and appropriate for scale-up around the world, project evaluation has shown that the Go Girls! approach works. Participation in the initiative was associated with increased HIV knowledge, improved child-parent or child-guardian relationships and enhanced school environments.”

Of the 50 ideas and solutions featured, 25 are centered in sub-Saharan Africa, 9 in Asia, 5 in the Middle East and North Africa, 4 in Latin America, and 2 in Europe and North America, while the others are global in reach. A selection committee of experts and advocates representing the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Medic Mobile, Room to Read, Man Up and the International Center for Research on Women, narrowed down the original list of nominations for voting. Women Deliver President, Jill Sheffield, acted as Chair.

Other inspirational solutions featured in the Women Deliver 50 include Aawaaj, an organization in Nepal that works to break the silence around sexual violence, Backpack Farm’s project in Kenya and South Sudan to build the capacity of female farmers, and the newly launched campaign “Girls Not Brides: The Global Partnership to End Child Marriage.”

Go Girls! Initiative was nominated because of the impact that it has had on girls and women in Malawi, Mozambique and Botswana.

Go Girls! developed and implemented multifaceted communication approaches to reduce adolescent girls’ (age 10 to 17) susceptibility to HIV infection. In sub-Saharan Africa, young women ages 15 to 24 are as much as eight times more likely than men to be HIV positive, according to UNAIDS. Go Girls! researched and targeted the specific needs of adolescent girls to prevent HIV and used tailored youth-focused approaches and materials in tandem with adult-child, school-based and community-level interventions.

Led by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health Center for Communication Programs (JHU∙CCP) with funding from USAID, the initiative addressed barriers to accessing education, fostered life skills, strengthened parents’ and other adults’ ability to communicate with and support girls, and promoted community dialogue and action. After conducting focus groups with both girls and boys, Go Girls! Initiative identified structural factors, especially insufficient economic, educational, socio-cultural, and legal support for adolescent girls, as the root causes of girls’ vulnerability to HIV. With a deeper understanding of girls’ perspectives, Go Girls! pushed for stronger gender programming in HIV prevention worldwide.

View the Go Girls! toolkit.

View the entire Women Deliver 50 list.

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