Plot 22, Kenneth Dale Lane, Off Kira Rd, Kamwokya-Kampala Uganda

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Girls Empowering Girls Programme

Background

By 2040, over 20 million Ugandans will reside in urban areas, with the highest proportion being children and young people. While children in urban areas are considered better off than their rural counterparts – with greater access to services and more diverse income-generating opportunities – they are also vulnerable to homelessness, exploitation and abuse.

In Kampala, 54 per cent of the residents live in slums with inadequate housing, poor sanitation and limited access to basic services, including education and employment. Adolescents and young people in urban areas face threats, especially girls and young women who are at risk of sexual violence and HIV/AIDS. Young people have expressed concerns about a lack of education and employment opportunities and are losing hope of ever being able to achieve economic success.

To facilitate the healthy growth of urban centres and support the most vulnerable communities, the Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) created the GirlsEmpoweringGirls urban social protection programme for adolescent girls in Kampala.

Objective

To ensure that girls transition safely into adulthood, receive education and training, and are empowered to achieve their goals and make a contribution in their community and country.

What is the GirlsEmpoweringGirls programme?

The GirlsEmpoweringGirls programme works to ensure that girls transition safely into adulthood, receive education and training, and are empowered to achieve their goals. It does so by supporting in-school and out-of-school adolescent girls living in Kampala, providing avenues to empower girls through a network of peer mentors, engaging them through education, training and support services, and enabling them to pursue better opportunities for their future through a small cash transfer. This is the first social protection programme in Uganda directly targeting children.

GirlsEmpoweringGirls is built on a pillar of mentoring and peer support networks, which are complemented with referrals to services, digital engagement, as well as a cash transfer to the girl’s caregiver.

The programme design is informed by international evidence of the positive impact of combining services-oriented programming with a cash transfer, which have demonstrated promising results across education, health, gender, protection, livelihoods and similar dimensions.

Where will the programme be implemented?

The programme is being implemented across all five divisions of Kampala (Central, Kawempe, Makindye, Nakawa and Rubaga), reaching diverse geographical pockets of vulnerable girls.

Who will the programme reach?

The programme targets two different categories of vulnerable adolescent girls: (1) girls in upper primary, attending Universal Primary Education schools with high drop-out rates, who are at risk of not transitioning to Secondary school; (2) adolescent girls who have dropped out of school, who are vulnerable and living in the corresponding school catchment areas.

How are the participants selected?

The programme identifies participants by targeting the communities they live in and the schools they attend (a geographical-categorical targeting mechanism), through an analysis of the levels of multidimensional child and household poverty, school drop-out rates, and household-level vulnerabilities.

Who are the partners?

The programme is led and coordinated by KCCA at the Kampala and division levels, with support from UNICEF Uganda. At the parish level, the programme is implemented by a network of lead-mentors and peer-mentors, who are directly overseen by two CSO partners: Trailblazers Mentoring Foundation, responsible for supporting in-school girls, and the Uganda Youth Development Link, responsible for supporting the out-of-school girls. The small cash transfers will be distributed to the girls’ primary caregivers by GiveDirectly.

The programme was designed and developed by KCCA and UNICEF with support from the Economic Policy Research Institute, based on evidence of best practices. The programme includes a strong monitoring and evaluation component to facilitate data-driven decision-making and ensure that the programme’s results and impact are measured.

This programme is aligned with the Government of Uganda’s Vision 2040, National Development Plan, and National Social Protection Policy, and is supported by the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development.

The First Phase of GirlsEmpoweringGirls

The first cohort of the GirlsEmpoweringGirls programme includes 1,500 girls across all five divisions of Kampala, half of which are in-school and the other half are out-of-school. They will receive mentoring through a network of 300 peer mentors, overseen by 30 lead mentors. This cohort is expected to receive continuous support as they transition towards adulthood, through December 2023.