Estimated duration
2 Years
Estimated total value
Latin America & Caribbean
International Medical Corps; International Rescue Committee; United Nations Foundation; Population Council's Poverty, Gender, and Youth Program; Making Cents International; United Nations; St. Boniface Haiti Foundation; Operation Hope, Inc.; Earthspark International; International Planned Parenthood Federation; APROSIFA; The Abundance Foundation; Save the Children; Americares Foundation, Inc.

Empowering Adolescent Girls in Haiti


Members of the Haiti Adolescent Girls Network are launching a nationwide program of Girls’ Groups in areas affected by the earthquake as well as communities that are the destinations of out-migration. These regular meetings will serve as social platforms through which to connect girls to age-appropriate skills training and services such as primary and reproductive health care, financial literacy, and psycho-social support. Girls’ Groups have a powerful protective effect: they help ignite friendships, connect young girls with older mentors, foster a sense of belonging and solidarity, and give girls a place to turn in times of trouble. Pairs of female peer mentors each will convene a group a minimum of 30 to 50 times a year, and offer emotional anchoring while delivering the core program content.
The program approach is rooted in two, key shared observations: First, some categories of girls require special attention. As such the Groups will be segmented with priority given to: 1) girls ages 10 to 14 who are living with one or no parent and 2) girls who are mothers or heads of household as a result of familial death. Additionally, special support services will focus on girls who have experienced rape or gender-based violence, those who are disabled, and those who are pregnant.
Second, the majority of girls in post-earthquake Haiti neither experience an inherent sense of security nor have an opportunity to gather without the presence of boys. As such, the program will be anchored in girls-only gatherings, referred to as Espas Pa Mwen.
– 40 Girls Groups, each convened 30 to 50 times over 12 months with a minimum participation of 25 girls each
– Girls Groups active in 20 locations, across the nation in diverse settings including: earthquake-affected areas, communities that are the destination of out-migration, rural and urban settings, displacement camps, and previously marginalized communities.
– Participating girls acquire a core set of protective assets and skills (tailored by location) and receive Dignity & Action Kits
– Expanded organizational capacity among local and international organizations and women’s groups to implement adolescent girl programming, including a trained cadre of 80 young women leaders engaged as Peer Mentors
– Complete curriculum reference containing materials used in the Girls’ Groups in French and Creole
– Participation of Haitian women leaders, the Ministry of Women’s Affairs and Ministry of Youth and Sports
July Program Launch Workshop in Port-au-Prince
August First of regularly scheduled Network coordination meetings convened
September First Girls’ Groups convened, and Dignity & Action Kits assembled and distributed
October First capacity building grants disbursed to local NGOs
December Program Implementation Workshop and Peer Mentor Training
January Second wave of Girls’ Groups launched throughout spring
June Sustainability and scale-up planning meetings begin


Adolescent girls ages 10 to 19 are falling through the gaps in the earthquake rehabilitation and reconstruction efforts, without any programs that center on the unique needs of this dynamic but vulnerable group. The challenges faced by adolescent girls can be summarized as follows:
1) In the wake of the earthquake and in the absence of parents (deceased, missing or relocated), adolescent girls are increasingly responsible for caring for their younger siblings and for earning an income for their families. According to the Demographic and Health Survey (DHS), 42% of girls ages 10 to 14 who live in urban areas are living without either parent.
2) Living in displaced persons camps and slums, girls are especially vulnerable to violence. From its March 2010 survey conducted in the Port-au-Prince’s largest shantytown, Cite Soleil, the local research organization INURED reported that 14% of residents witnessed or experienced violence where they are living including beating and rape, and that sex-for-food and for-shelter is not uncommon for girls in relief camps.
3) The risks associated with puberty-early sex, and the resulting sexually transmitted infections, pregnancy and complications of childbearing-are augmented in Haiti where the minimum legal age of marriage is 15 years for girls (and 18 years for boys). By the age of 18, 38% of Haitian girls have had their first baby.
4) Prior to the earthquake, Haitian girls attended school for an average of only two years and the loss of schooling opportunities has since been exacerbated by the destruction of school buildings.
5) Many girls are living with injuries and amputations arising from the earthquake and are in need of special services.
Despite these challenges, with targeted investment in their social capital, adolescent girls have an opportunity to break the cycle of poverty. Clear evidence garnered over two decades demonstrates that investing in girl-specific resources in the areas of education, health services, and financial literacy contributes substantially to a better future not just for the individual girls but their families and communities as well. For example, every year of primary schooling increases a girl’s individual earning power by 10 to 20 percent. When a girl in a low-income country receives seven or more years of education, she marries four years later and has 2.2 fewer children. Educated girls grow into educated women, who-research shows-have healthier babies and are more likely to educate their children.
With this commitment, the Network is making strategic investments to build the social capital of girls and increase their access to essential services. The initative is also making them a priority in the local and international effort to ‘build back better’ in Haiti.

Progress Update

April 2012
The Haiti Adolescent Girl Network (HAGN)’s eight implementing members collectively reach 600 girls who gather each week in designated safe spaces. There are thirty-eight young women from different communities who have been trained as peer mentors that facilitate participatory learning activities on topics such as financial literacy, reproductive health and rights, leadership and civic engagement, hygiene and cholera prevention. These gatherings, locally named ‘Espas Paw Mwen’ (Creole for ‘My Space’), now convene at 19 sites in Port-au-Prince, Jacmel, Leogane, and Fonds des Blancs. They give participants, most of whom do not attend school, a rare opportunity to gather with girls their own age, to form friendships and to gain specific skills, all of which have a protective effect for girls who are vulnerable to sexually motivated violence and other insecurities exacerbated by the 2010 earthquake.
The HAGN has helped to build local capacity by developing curriculum materials, providing training, and awarding seed grants. On behalf of the Network, Making Cents International completed a comprehensive eight-part module on financial literacy and savings. Girls helped tailor this open source content and peer mentors learned how to lead sessions on the subject in a series of workshops. Additionally, HAGN has developed modules for sexual and reproductive health and leadership, and additional subjects are planned with seven accompanying peer mentor workshops scheduled out through September 2012. To help them launch EPM programs, AmeriCares, on behalf of HAGN, awarded seed grants to six grassroots NGOs. Additionally, AmeriCares delivered materials for Dignity and Action Kits to Haiti, which have been distributed to the implementing members for EPM participants.
Over the next twelve months, the Network expects to add 6 new member organizations that are committed to helping adolescent girls break the cycle of violence and poverty. With this additional capacity, the Network anticipated reaching its goals of 1,000 girls with 80 peer mentors and will surpass the initial target of 20 program sites.

Partnership Opportunities

SEEKING: Financial Resources, Implementing Partners
The Network is seeking financial partners to fund the Girls’ Group implementation budget of $281,000:
– Program Coordination & Administration 90,000
– Haitian NGO Implementation Grants 50,000
– Girls Group Peer Mentors 75,000
– Specialty Mentors 33,000
– Technical Support and Program Workshops 20,000
– Educational Materials & Translation 10,000
– Dignity & Action Kit Assembly 3,000
The Network is also seeking partners to help deliver specialized program content including psycho-social support, self-defense/safety, and cultural animation. Additionally, the Network seeks in-kind and/or financial support particularly for the creation of ID cards and procurement of materials to support the girls’ education, enhance safety, promote hygiene, and create access to health services.
OFFERING: Financial Resources, Best Practice Information
The Network is actively expanding and extending partnership to additional organizations that would like to implement Girls’ Groups. Partners should be able to make a minimum 12 month commitment to convene at least 25 girls between the ages of 10 to 18 for at least 30 to 50 consecutive sessions. The Network is ready to offer technical support in developing the program structure and core content, will facilitate best practices sharing among participating organizations, and may be able to assist qualified Haitian organizations launching Girls’ Groups with small operating grants.

NOTE: This Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) Commitment to Action is made, implemented, and tracked by the partners listed. CGI is a program dedicated forging new partnerships, providing technical support, and elevating compelling models with potential to scale. CGI does not directly fund or implement these projects.