Effects of a Social Empowerment Intervention on Economic Vulnerability for Adolescent Refugee Girls in Ethiopia

Director of the CPC Learning Network Lindsay Stark and CPC faculty affiliate Fred Ssewamala and colleagues from the International Rescue Committee recently published an article in the Journal of Adolescent Health examining the effects on a girls’ social empowerment program, Creating Opportunities through Mentoring, Parental Involvement and Safe Spaces (COMPASS), on economic vulnerability of participating adolescent refugee girls in Ethiopia. Using logistic regression modeling, it was revealed that, following the intervention, girls in the treatment arm were no more or less likely than those in the control arm to attend school, work for pay, work for pay while not being enrolled in school, or engage in transactional sexual exploitation. Findings suggest that stand-alone social empowerment programs may not reduce economic vulnerability for adolescent girls without simultaneously implementing economic empowerment programs or taking additional measures to address broader structural barriers.

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