Acceptability and experience of sexual and gender-based violence is alarmingly high among adolescent girls in Zambia. Even more striking is the very young age from which notions of violence are ingrained and experience with violence begins. This brief summarizes the Adolescent Girls Empowerment Program (AGEP) evaluation which demonstrated that in the Zambian context, a program focused on changing norms among girls themselves is not enough to impact attitudes toward and experience of violence. Social and cultural norms are shaped by households, schools, communities, and all of the adults that girls interact with in these places—even the mentors of their own safe space groups. Therefore, it is likely that to change indicators on violence, work to change norms and underlying driving factors of violence needs to take place at the household and community levels, in addition to working with girls in groups to understand what violence is, why it is harmful, and why it is okay for them to aspire to a violence-free life in their school, household, and community.
Austrian, Karen, Erica Soler-Hampejsek, Natalie Jackson Hachonda, and Paul C. Hewett. 2018. "Adolescent Girls Empowerment Program (AGEP): Sexual and gender-based violence," brief. Lusaka: Population Council.
Adolescent Girls Empowerment Program
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