Girl Empower—A gender transformative mentoring and cash transfer intervention to promote adolescent wellbeing: Impact findings from a cluster-randomized controlled trial in Liberia

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Article (peer-reviewed)

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Background: We evaluated Girl Empower – an intervention that aimed to equip adolescent girls with the skills to make healthy, strategic life choices and to stay safe from sexual abuse using a cluster-randomized controlled trial with three arms: control, Girl Empower (GE), and GE+. Methods: GE delivered a life skills curriculum to girls aged 13–14 in Liberia, facilitated by local female mentors. In the GE + variation, a cash incentive payment was offered to caregivers for girls’ participation in the program. We evaluated the impact of the program on seven pre-specified domains using standardized indices: sexual violence, schooling, sexual and reproductive health (SRH), psychosocial wellbeing, gender attitudes, life skills, and protective factors. Findings: Participation rates in the program were high in both GE and GE+, with the average participant attending 28 out of 32 sessions. At 24 months, the standardized effects of both GE and GE+, compared to control, on sexual violence, schooling, psychosocial wellbeing, and protective factors were small (β, ≤ 0.11 standard deviations [SD]) and not statistically significant at the 95% level of confidence. However, we found positive standardized effects on Gender Attitudes (GE: β, 0.206 SD, p < 0.05; GE+: β, 0.228 SD, p < 0.05), Life Skills (GE: β, 0.224 SD, p < 0.05; GE+: β, 0.289 SD, p < 0.01), and SRH (GE: β, 0.244 SD, p < 0.01; GE+: β, 0.372 SD, p < 0.01; F-test for GE = GE+: p = 0.075). Interpretation: Girl Empower led to sustained improvements in several important domains, including SRH, but did not reduce sexual violence among the target population.






Evaluating the Girl Empower Program in Nimba County, Liberia