Support to Sierra Leone Adolescent Girls’ Empowerment Programme (SAGE): Scoping and Design Report

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SAGE is a DFID supported, integrated programme to improve the lives of adolescent girls, responding to the multiple and interrelated disadvantages they face. It comprises two components:

  1. Delivery of integrated services for vulnerable adolescent girls through a safe spaces approach, including enhancing their access to sexual and reproductive health (SRH) education and services.
  2. Support for the elimination of harmful traditional practices (HTP).

The overall objective of this assignment is a focus on component one and ensuring that SAGE redesign and implementation plans are based on a thorough understanding of the evidence base on adolescent girls’ empowerment and the Sierra Leonean context.

The methodology used combined a desk review of documentation and extensive stakeholder consultations to collect information about adolescent girls’ programmes. Eliciting the views of the adolescent girls themselves was a priority.

Together with information gathered at national level, five programmes (delivered by BRAC, Concern Worldwide, Matei Empowerment Programme for Sustainable Development, IRC and Save the Children) in various areas of Sierra Leone were used as case studies, explored extensively through two field missions. Insights into smaller relevant programmes are provided through findings from a round table conversation with civil society members of the Salone Adolescent Girls Network and the results of a short follow-up questionnaire.

Some key findings of the report are:

  • Each of the case study programmes demonstrates different strengths and weaknesses, varying points of emphasis, and some interesting innovation.
  • The quality of LST is variable, with some facilitators and safe space/club mentors demonstrating more knowledge and skills than others. Influencing factors are the experience and age of the individuals, the training they have received, and the LST materials they have to hand.
  • Some programmes are investing in interventions such as community conversations and outreach to secure broad based engagement in adolescent empowerment processes, including interventions to address HTPs.

Overall, rather than seeking to create a totally new programme, our recommendation is that SAGE build on and broaden existing programmes and structures, introducing additional or new approaches and interventions where there are gaps either in geographical coverage or approach.

Annexes, which include additional data analysis from the short questionnaire and consultations with stakeholders, can be accessed here.

Suggested citation:
Roseveare, C. M. and Lavaly, S. (2018). Support to Sierra Leone Adolescent Girls’ Empowerment (SAGE) Programme: Scoping and Design Report. London, UK: High-Quality Technical Assistance for Results (HEART).

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