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Livelihood Options for Girls: A Guide for Program Managers Image

Promoting Inclusive Markets and Financial Systems

Livelihood Options for Girls: A Guide for Program Managers


Purpose: The purpose of this guide is to strengthen the capacity of HIV/AIDS program managers to design interventions that reduce adolescents’ vulnerability to HIV by offering viable and effective livelihood options to supplant high-risk behaviors motivated by economic insecurity. It is designed to help PEPFAR (President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief) teams encourage the development of tailored interventions that combine economic empowerment components with other activities to prevent HIV infection among the target population.

Overview and Description: The guide refl ects lessons learned from a literature review the USAID | Health Policy Initiative, Task Order 1 conducted last year. The review revealed a variety of gender-related factors that contribute to the economic and social vulnerabilities of different subpopulations of adolescents and put them at increased risk of HIV infection. Although many programs respond to the needs of different groups of adolescents, there is no single source of information on the factors contributing to adolescents’ increased HIV risk or to livelihood programs designed to address adolescents’ economic vulnerabilities.

Following a presentation of gender terms and defi nitions, this guide describes what is known about economic vulnerability and HIV risk for adolescent girls, as well as gaps in our current knowledge. It then presents a menu of programming options that address the particular constraints faced by varying subpopulations of adolescent girls within the context of gender-based constraints and economic vulnerability. For example, the programmatic responses needed by young married girls may be quite different from those needed by rural, married out-of-school girls or urban girls who are unmarried and in school. Similarly, young, urban out-of-school girls who work as domestic servants may face constraints different from those of young girls in rural areas who also are out of school but provide domestic labor in their own homes. All of these groups face different gender-based constraints and opportunities.

This guide explains how to match appropriate program elements to the diverse needs and vulnerabilities that put different groups of adolescents at heightened risk of HIV transmission. A series of one- to two-page briefs summarize potential gender-based constraints and opportunities faced by different subpopulations of adolescents, depending on their residence; age; and school, marital, and employment status. The briefs also include livelihood strategies that appropriately respond to the identifi ed constraints and opportunities. Information on actual programs that have either been documented or evaluated is included in the summaries.

A fuller description of the programs, along with the advantages and limitations indicated in the literature, appears in a matrix in
Appendix A. The matrix builds on the programming guide by presenting livelihood options in more detail, identifying key elements of success or best practices, and raising cautionary considerations for program implementers. It also presents examples of specifi c programs and their evaluated outcomes, where available.

The Health Policy Initiative also has developed a more detailed tool—Identifying Appropriate Livelihood Options for Adolescent
Girls: A Program Design Tool (Caro, 2009)—that enables the organizations that implement programs to conduct a gender assessment to identify and understand the specific gender-based constraints and oppor tunities faced by the adolescents with whom they work. This tool will help them identify the most effective programmatic interventions in addressing adolescents’ specific needs and interests.

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