This report presents the results from the baseline assessment of International Rescue Committee’s (IRC) 1 Girl Empower (GE) programme in Nimba County, Liberia. GE is a programme in rural communities which seeks to help 13 to 14 year-old girls make healthy life choices and decrease their risk of sexual abuse. The programme centres on weekly meetings between girls and trained local mentors, during which the girls learn about life skills and financial literacy. GE also holds monthly discussion groups for participants’ caregivers, as well as trains local health and psychosocial care providers on how to improve and expand services for survivors of gender- based violence. Girls are also equipped with savings accounts, and small deposits are made on their behalf.
The GE baseline assessment is part of a randomised evaluation, which will assess the program’s impact. Primary investigators from Population Council, the World Bank, and the IRC lead the evaluation’s research team, and Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA) is responsible for the survey data collection.
The GE impact evaluation is designed to assess a variety of outcomes, primarily the program’s effectiveness in reducing instances of and vulnerability to sexual abuse and exploitation. Also evaluated is the program’s effectiveness when participants’ caregivers receive cash transfers based on girls’ attendance at the weekly sessions. Further investigated is the program’s ability to help reduce teen pregnancies and early marriages, increase social connectedness, school participation, and self-esteem, and improve girls’ life and financial literacy skills. Other relevant outcomes include whether or not the girl has ever had sex, whether the girl’s first and subsequent sexual acts were consensual and whether or not the girl has ever been married or pregnant. In order to get pre-randomisation measures of these (and all other) outcome indicators, all of the outcome measures were included in the baseline assessment.