Adolescent girls are a vulnerable group across the world that is often affected by harmful and discriminatory social practices. Yet they have the potential to change their communities and their countries – both as the empowered girls of today and as tomorrow’s workers, mothers, entrepreneurs, mentors, household heads, and political leaders.
Adolescent girls can be affected by issues such as high out-of-school rates, poor access to formal employment and discriminatory gender norms. This can lead to problems such as early marriage and the knock-on effect on health, education and gender violence. There are several interventions in place to address these problems but very little evidence about “what works”. DFID have identified adolescent girls and the lack of an evidence-base as a priority area for investment. Through the Gender and Adolescence: Global Evidence programme (GAGE), they have invested £31million over eight years to create a body of evidence to demonstrate what interventions support the empowerment of adolescent girls.
Itad is a member of the ODI-led consortium that has been contracted to lead this exciting research programme. Itad leads on measuring the cost effectiveness of interventions to empower adolescent girls. This is a challenging area of work where good practice around the meaningful measurement of cost-effectiveness is not well established. Itad is, therefore, taking stock of experience of applying value for money and cost-effectiveness analysis in international development and using this experience as a springboard for developing an innovative approach to be applied on GAGE. It is expected that the approach will be fully integrated with GAGE’s longitudinal impact evaluation of 18,000 adolescents. The cost-effectiveness analysis will seek to address the following research questions:
- What is the optimal length of time an intervention should continue to invest to achieve maximum impact, especially given a growing evidence base that suggests that social and gender norm change processes are often long and non-linear in nature?
- How can we better assess and capture the value for money dimensions of sustained legacy effects of interventions?
- Are there trade-offs between value for money considerations and equity concerns? How can these best be addressed?
- How can we better assess and capture the value for money dimensions of the broader indirect effects of programme interventions, including the creation of global public goods?
Image © Escaping child marriage. Photo Credit: Sheena Ariyapala/Department for International Development