Collective Action for Adolescent Girls Initiative (CAAGI) is a Christian Aid funded programme that aims to improve significantly the choices and opportunities available for adolescent girls in Northern Nigeria to live productive and meaningful lives.
It seeks to change individual and societal behaviours, attitudes and perceptions that hamper the opportunities of girls, using the strong influence of religion through religious leaders as enablers to facilitate this change.
Specifically the issues the project seeks to address:
- Economic empowerment
- Early marriage (time of marriage)
Kaduna State, Nigeria
April, 2016 - July, 2018
- Primary beneficiaries are adolescent girls
- Primary stakeholders are faith leaders
- Other stakeholders involved include traditional leaders, parents of adolescent girls, male champions, larger community members
Some of the strategies which have been adopted during the project include:
- Working closely with faith leaders and traditional leaders to train and empower them to raise awareness of the issues affecting adolescent girls and influence and reinforce positive behaviours and attitudes.
- Strategically using mass media and other communication technologies to influence change.
- Creating safe spaces for adolescent girls and other community members, which serves as motivation for social dialogue around issues that affect them.
Development of a toolkit
We developed a key toolkit, which was used by the faith leaders for advocacies during the project. This toolkit was developed in a participatory manner by faith actors.
The toolkit simplified and helped to differentiate some religious teachings from deep-rooted cultural practices.
The translation to Hausa language made the toolkit more effective as a greater number of faith actors were able to use the document for sermons and teachings.
Faith leaders at community level, have actively intervened in the cancellation of planned weddings for underage girls in their communities.
Now, these girls are either back in school or learning a skill/trade to improve their choices and opportunities.
Male champions are now supporting adolescent girls to achieve their dreams, either to continue education or learn a trade.
The project bought and distributed economic empowerment/income generating materials for 147 adolescent girls across project communities. These girls have started using these materials and are now making money to support themselves and their families.
Giving girls a voice
Adolescent girls have been trained to on self-awareness, leadership and they are beginning to speak up for themselves on the issues that bother them.