This rapid review explores the evidence and lessons learned about engaging girls in life skills interventions at a distance (i.e. through mobile, online, radio or other) both in emergency and nonemergency settings. The purpose of the review is to assist programmes in identifying relevant and effective ways to continue and build girls’ life skills remotely during the widespread school closures and quarantine of the COVID-19 crisis (Albrectsen and Giannini, 2020). The main interest of the review is emergency contexts, however, the limited evidence as well as the potential for learning from programmes from non-emergency settings, led to the inclusion of non-emergency settings in the review. As evidence is scarce in this area, the report is based on a rapid literature review of academic studies, grey literature and emerging evidence, to ensure relevant insights are captured.
The lack of rigorous studies on the impact of remote life skills interventions in general and specifically those focused on adolescent girls demonstrates a clear evidence gap. The review did identify relevant evidence when reviewing literature on several other topics, mainly shifting gender norms using media and communications and remote Sexual and Reproductive Health (SRH) approaches (most of which focus on HIV). The literature reviewed explored many modes of remote programme delivery, including – radio, magazines, TV, social media, mobile phones, interactive apps and hotlines. Some of the interventions reviewed were ones that require significant planning and preparation, such as TV and radio soap operas (Sugg, 2014; World Bank, 2017). To increase the applicability to the COVID-19 response, the review put greater emphasis on interventions that could be developed and implemented quickly.