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Clubs, friends, and mentors, oh my! The transformative power of leadership skills development and social networks for adolescent girls

Wed, March 8, 3:15 to 6:30pm, Sheraton Atlanta, Floor: 1, Atlanta 3 (North Tower)


The power of the collective is often stronger than the individual. Not only are humans social by nature, but adolescents often exhibit increased social tendencies, learning with and from each other. If designed with attention to quality inputs, a focus on safety and security, and with the voice and desires of adolescents central to the design and running of the activities, adolescent social groups and collectives have the potential to create meaningful social support structures and interactions. This presentation will focus on the ways in which CARE has designed and implemented adolescent collectives and social networks as a strategy to building key leadership skills. Specifically, it will explore the various skills that are cultivated through activities amongst girls and boys, and the results that have been measured through ongoing project monitoring and evaluation activities. Project examples from across multiple countries will be referenced; interestingly, there have been multiple “packages” implemented with varying combinations of skills developed (a mixture of hard and soft skills), content used (academic, and social) and mixture of self-directed and leader-directed approaches have been implemented. Despite these differences, there have been positive impacts regarding: student learning outcomes, enhanced enabling environments, including advocacy from key champions for adolescent and girl rights, and 5 key leadership competencies (voice, decision-making, self-confidence, organization, and vision).