Keeping adolescent girls safe from violence

For immediate release

Violence against women and children is a global epidemic that carries lifelong consequences for individuals, families, and communities. Adolescent girls are particularly at risk because they may not have access to supportive interventions, most of which are aimed at supporting either married adult females or younger children.

To address this gap, the International Rescue Committee in Nimba County, Liberia founded the Girl Empower program, which seeks to equip adolescent girls with the skills to make healthy, strategic life choices and to stay safe from sexual abuse.

CUNY SPH Associate Professor Elizabeth Kelvin and team conducted a cluster randomized controlled trial to evaluate the program’s impact. The results were published in the journal SSM Population Health.

Kelvin and colleagues found that, 24 months post-baseline and 12 months after program completion, girls in the intervention had more egalitarian attitudes about gender roles, better life skills, and safer sexual and reproductive health behavior compared to girls in the control group, but there was no difference in experiences of sexual violence.

“The program led to important improvements in the girl’s lives,” Kelvin says. “But to address sexual violence it may be necessary to design interventions for boys and men that complement those offered to girls.”

About the Institute for Implementation Science in Population Health at the City University of New York
The CUNY Institute for Implementation Science in Population Health (ISPH) was founded on the notion that substantial improvements in population health can be efficiently achieved through better implementation of existing strategies, policies, and interventions across multiple sectors. We study how to translate and scale-up evidence-based interventions and policies within clinical and community settings in order to improve population health and reduce health disparities. CUNY ISPH. Pursuing population health gains through better implementation. Follow us on Twitter: @CUNYISPH.

About the CUNY Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy
The CUNY Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy (CUNY SPH) is committed to teaching, research and service that creates a healthier New York City and helps promote equitable, efficient and evidence-based solutions to pressing health problems facing cities around the world. For more information, visit

Girl Empower – A gender transformative mentoring and cash transfer intervention to promote adolescent wellbeing: Impact findings from a cluster-randomized controlled trial in Liberia.” Berk Özler, Kelly Hallman, Marie-France Guimond, Elizabeth A. Kelvin, Marian Rogers, Esther Karnley, SSM – Population Health, Volume 10, April 2020 eCollection.

Reposted with permission from the original.