Adolescent Girls

Photo By: Sasha Pippenger/The IRC
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Adolescence is a critical time to inspire and empower girls in the pivotal years. But when conflicts or crises displace adolescent girls from their homes, families and schools, they face heightened risks of exploitation, sexual and gender-based violence and early pregnancy. Their education is often disrupted, and many are forced into early marriage. Yet with the right skills and resources, adolescent girls can transform themselves, their families, their communities and their societies.

Recent Reports:

I'm Here: Adolescent Girls in Emergencies

A resource for emergency response staff, it outlines an operational approach and recommendations that can help humanitarian sectors be more accountable to adolescent girls from the start of an emergency.

Strong Girls, Powerful Women: Program Planning and Design for Adolescent Girls in Humanitarian Settings

This report is intended to help humanitarian practitioners more effectively identify and address the unique needs of adolescent girls in displacement and crisis settings. It also provides donors and policy makers, who have the ability to drive change in humanitarian programming, with guidance on how to make sustainable impact for adolescent girls. 

Pregnancy and childbirth are the leading causes of death among girls 15-19 years old in developing countries. Girls are more likely than boys to be denied secondary education, which increases rates of early marriage and early childbearing. They are far more likely to be socially isolated, depriving them of friends, mentors and role models to shape their self-esteem and future well-being.


At the WRC, we begin by strengthening the capacity of the girl herself. We learn from girls what works and what doesn't, and then we partner with local organizations to design unique projects to meet girls' needs and to protect their rights. For girls to be safe and to thrive, they require security and education, health care, social support and mentors. They flourish when given opportunities to develop the confidence, critical thinking and support networks necessary to make good, informed decisions for their lives.

The WRC identifies adolescent girls' most critical needs, and then formulates and advocates solutions. Our reports include situational assessments, guidance documents, implementation tools, and deeper reports.

  • Protection and Empowerment – We highlight the best practices and major gaps in helping adolescent girls to stay safe and to flourish when crises displace them from home.
  • Sexual and Reproductive Health - We identify existing services and good practices for adolescent girls' rights to sexual and reproductive health in humanitarian settings.
  • Emergency Settings – We provide timely guidance on how to protect and support adolescent girls during the critical window immediately after the onset of a crisis.

Girls are so often overlooked that simply framing solutions with the girl at the center makes a tremendous difference. We carefully engage men and boys, adult women and community leaders to shift their attitudes and expectations for girls. We work with the whole community to ensure that girls are not only individually empowered with what they need to succeed, but also collectively supported to achieve their full potential.