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Schoolgirls, Nepal Students at the Kamrun Nessa Government Girls School, Dhaka, Bangladesh. Credit: ADB

How we work

GAGE’s conceptual framework takes a holistic approach in order to understand what works to support adolescent girls’ and boys’ development and empowerment –  now and in the future. We pay particular attention to adolescents’ gendered experiences and the ways in which gender discriminatory norms and practices interact with other forms of social disadvantage to shape adolescent development trajectories.

We explore:

Capabilities: the individual and collective capabilities that underpin adolescent wellbeing, and the challenges that need to be overcome across six key capability sets – education and learning, bodily integrity (including freedom from sexual and gender-based violence and child marriage), physical and reproductive health and nutrition, psychosocial wellbeing, voice and agency, and economic empowerment;

Change strategies: the ways in which transformative change requires simultaneous interventions at individual, family, community, services and systems levels;

Contexts: the ways in which adolescents’ local, national and international environments shape their development trajectories.

Our 3 Cs framework recognises that adolescent girls at different stages in life face different needs and constraints. For example, 10-year-old girls need time to play while 19-year-old girls may need help parenting their own toddlers. Similarly, an unmarried 15-year-old girl studying at an urban secondary school is likely to have very different needs than a married 15-year-old girl living in a remote rural village. Both need the support of friends and family and may face gender-based violence, but programmes aimed at helping them achieve their goals need to be built on a recognition of not just the similarities they share—but their differences.

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Capability themes

Education and learning
Sexual and reproductive health and nutrition
Speech bubble
Voice and agency
Girl icon with two hands
Bodily integrity and freedom from violence
Psychosocial well-being
Economic empowerment

Change strategies

Adolescent girls
Adolescent boys
Broader systems and services
Bangladesh schoolgirls


Ethiopia girl

Change strategies

Nepali schoolgirls