Almost 1 billion people around the globe live in urban informal settlements, or “slums.” In Kenya, 60 percent of Nairobi’s nearly 3 million inhabitants live in slum areas characterized by high levels of poverty and HIV. Kibera is the largest of these slums. Life is particularly perilous for adolescent girls in slums, as they make their transition to adulthood. Girls are several times more likely than their male age-mates to become infected with HIV, and sexual initiation for girls often occurs in the context of violence and coercion. Poverty is a driving force behind these and other vulnerabilities. As described in Promoting Healthy, Safe, and Productive Transitions to Adulthood Brief No. 29, the Population Council is designing interventions to expand safe spaces and build social, health, and economic assets for adolescent girls in Kenya’s urban slums. Working with two financial institution partners, the Council has developed a savings account that provides girls with a financial service specifically suited to their needs within a program model that expands access to safe spaces, strengthens social networks, and provides financial education and basic health education.
Austrian, Karen. 2011. "Expanding safe spaces, financial education, and savings for adolescent girls in Kenya," Promoting Healthy, Safe, and Productive Transitions to Adulthood Brief no. 29. New York: Population Council.