When Girls Respond: The Conundrum of Collecting Data from Adolescent Girls

28 April 2016

CREA believes that building the self-confidence, leadership, and knowledge of women and girls about their sexuality and human rights, and creating feminist platforms to challenge oppressive norms and power structures will enable women and girls to make their own decisions, exert control over their bodies, and demand their rights. Our community based programmes working with adolescent girls are based on these principles. We understand from anecdotal evidence that girls who participate in our programmes are able to shift things at individual and family level and at times at community level such as by delaying marriage or by pursuing further studies. However, the challenge of collecting quantifiable data remains and in part the challenge comes from engaging with adolescent girls, yet endeavoring to remain true to principles of informed consent and conscious choices. How does one balance the needs of monitoring and evaluation framework while ensuring privacy to the  girls, their family and community.

International Women’s Health Coalition is currently hosting a blog series to expand conversation on learning and evaluating comprehensive sexuality education (CSE) programmes and advocacy efforts. IWHC had also co-hosted a convening in April 2015 with CREA for those in the field to share their experiences implementing and evaluating in-and-out-of-school CSE programmes. The first blog in this series has been contributed by Rupsa Mallik, Director, Programmes and Innovation. Here's an excerpt from the blog: 

For those of us in the field of comprehensive sexuality education (CSE), there are universal challenges. Not least of these challenges is collecting data to determine the effectiveness of our programs through an evaluation. And in the process of seeking responses from young people—girls in particular—we face many dilemmas. When you are conducting a baseline survey at the beginning of a program evaluation, what does it mean to get “informed consent” from a 12-year-old girl? There is the question of how and how much to engage with parents: how much do we need to share with them? How does one ensure that those asking the survey questions are sensitive and creative in eliciting appropriate responses on topics that they themselves might hesitate to discuss and/or have very little knowledge about?

Click here to read this blog.