Girls Holistic Development Program Qualitative Research Report
As part of the USAID-funded Passages Project, the Institute for Reproductive Health has provided technical assistance through a Realist Evaluation approach to guide understanding and scale-up of the Girls’ Holistic Development Program, implemented through the Grandmothers Project – Change through Culture. The Grandmothers Project is is a non-governmental American and Senegalese organization that develops innovative community change strategies that build on the specific structure and values of non-Western, collectivist cultures. The Girls’ Holistic Development program, developed in 2008 and implemented in the Vélingara Department in Southern Senegal, promotes change in culturally embedded social norms and practices related to girls’ education, early marriage and pregnancy, and female genital mutilation/cutting by both empowering girls and creating an enabling environment where family and community actors support change for girls. When the Passages-Grandmothers Project collaboration began in 2017, the program was beginning an expansion into seven villages. This presented an opportunity to assess the Girls’ Holistic Development Program’s impact using a mixed method, quasi-experimental design to explore how norms change processes work. Included in this program evaluation was an endline qualitative study that sought to understand the contextual characteristics and mechanisms of change that influence whether and how GHD achieves its objectives related to early child marriage and pregnancy, female genital mutilation/cutting, and girls’ education. This English executive summary and accompanying French report focus on the findings of this qualitative inquiry in four of the intervention villages. The qualitative study sought to answer four research questions:
- How did GHD influence behavior and intentions, individual and collective efficacy, and social norms related to project outcomes?
- How did GHD influence inter and intra-generational communication, and the role and respect community members give to grandmothers?
- How did GHD influence girls’ efficacy, the collective agency of grandmothers and communities, social cohesion, and collective action for GHD?
- How did the program mechanisms of change vary by village, participant type and exposure to the intervention?