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Girl radio programme Saathi Sanga Manka Kura radio programme advocating for girls' rights in Kailali, West Nepal. Credit: Clare Price ODI

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GAGE funds world-class research on reaching and supporting the most vulnerable and marginalised adolescents 

November 22, 2017

The GAGE programme is supporting cutting-edge research on what works to reach and support the most vulnerable and marginalised adolescents through the implementation of a responsive fund. 

Five awards have been granted from the first round of the GAGE Responsive Research and Evaluation Fund (RREF), which supports world-leading policy-orientated research responding to current evidence gaps and demands around gender and adolescence from within and beyond the GAGE consortium. There will be six funding windows worth a total of £2 million over the programme’s lifetime. 

The research question for the first funding window was ‘what works to reach and support the most vulnerable and marginalised adolescents’? In committing to the realisation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, Member States have committed to reach first those who are furthest behind. 

Now with the focus on implementation, ensuring that these commitments are translated into effective action requires a precise understanding of the most vulnerable and marginalised populations, including adolescents. 

The Awards 

The first five award recipients will conduct research in 20 different countries in Africa and South-East Asia.

  • National Influences on Violence Against Adolescent Girls: Do Progressive Gender Policies on Equity and Violence Benefit the Most Marginalized?

In this project, Kathryn Yount from Emory University and researchers from the International Centre for Diarrheal Disease Research, Bangladesh (icddr,b) and Johns Hopkins University, will extend research by Lori Heise (2015) on the cross-national and multilevel drivers of intimate partner violence. This is aimed at understanding whether legislation that promotes gender-equity and freedom from violence are associated with a lower risk of violence in adolescent girls, and whether the most marginalised adolescent girls benefit equally. 

  • Supporting Academic Writing for Early Career Researchers

Laura Camfield from the University of East Anglia (UEA), alongside Ernestina Coast from LSE and Catherine Locke, also from UEA, will run a training and mentorship scheme to support a small number of researchers from GAGE core countries in writing qualitative and mixed methods papers for submission to high impact factor journals. This proposal recognises the challenges faced by early career researchers in Southern countries in relation to academic publication and the importance of this for both their own development and the quality of the GAGE evidence base. It is anticipated that the proposal will increase the skills and confidence of individual researchers in academic writing and publication, while supporting GAGE’s capacity strengthening legacy and its ambitious targets for publications by female, early career and Southern researchers and in the use of mixed methods. 

  • Linkages between child marriage, intimate partner violence (IPV) and psychological well-being in Ethiopia

Neetu John from the International Center for Research on Women (ICRW) will lead a team of researchers to shed light on the lives of child brides in Ethiopia. This work will specifically focus on the impact of child marriage on psychological well-being and if the experience of intimate partner violence (IPV) influences this relationship, given the higher levels of IPV child brides often experience. Despite understanding of the circumstances of child brides, not much is known about the impact of child marriage on psychological well-being and even less is known about the mechanisms that influence psychological well-being. This information can prove critical to make a case to end the practice, and at the same time also provide useful guidance on how to reduce the negative impacts of child marriage. This study is uniquely positioned to expand understanding on how child marriage affects psychological well-being using innovative and detailed measures. 

  • Violence against Adolescent Girls in South Sudan: Trends and lessons learned for East Africa

Manuel Contreras, from the Global Women’s Institute of George Washington University (GWU), will lead a team of five researchers to examine the specific experiences of adolescent girls in conflict settings. Using a dataset collected through the UK AID-funded ‘What Works to Prevent Violence Against Women and Girls’, from three sites in South Sudan, researchers at GWU will conduct secondary data analysis with a specific focus on adolescent girls. Utilising both quantitative and qualitative datasets, researchers will identify common factors that are driving violence for this critical group and examine health-seeking behaviours and barriers to services for survivors. Findings from this research will be used to inform interventions prioritised by practitioners to reduce violence and harmful practices against adolescent girls in extremely patriarchal contexts and conflict-affected populations.

  • Understanding the experiences of adolescent girls and boys in refugee camps in Rwanda using a capability lens

Marie Francoise Umutoni, from FATE Consulting Rwanda, will work with a junior researcher to understand the experiences of adolescent boys and girls in refugee camps in Rwanda. This work will use a capability lens focusing on three themes: bodily integrity, psychosocial wellbeing and education and learning and findings will be presented to key stakeholders working with refugee children and adolescents. Umatoni says, “This research matters because there is limited qualitative information that complements the available quantitative information on refugee adolescent boys and girls in Rwanda. There are no specific policies on adolescents in Rwanda – and certainly none on adolescent refugees. However, there is a need to design child protection guidelines for refugee children using learned experiences and needs, and adopting best practices. 

The GAGE RREF is open to GAGE consortium members and organisations working in partnership with consortium members.

Past events

Webinar: Adolescent girls' resilience in times of crisis

Wednesday, October 11, 2.30-3.45pm BST

 Click here to view a recording of the webinar. 

Adolescent girls experience particular vulnerabilities following violent conflict, forced displacement and climate-induced disasters. Interventions designed to tackle the aftermath of such crises rarely take into account girls’ specific needs and vulnerabilities, particularly around psychosocial well-being. Yet by building adolescents’ emotional capacity and boosting their social networks and support services there is an opportunity to significantly enhance their resilience in the face of disasters and conflict.

On Day of the Girl Child, the Gender and Adolescence: Global Evidence programme convenes a webinar showcasing new programming and research on adolescent service provision and resilience measures, and discusses the most effective ways to measure progress and tackle key evidence gaps. 

Contributing chair: Dr. Nicola Jones, GAGE Director and ODI Principal Research Fellow


  • Sophia Wanjiku Ngugi, Technical Advisor, Women's Protection and Empowerment, Violence Prevention & Response Unit, IRC Kenya
  • Dr Bassam Abu Hamad, Associate Professor, Al Quds University
  • Veera Mendonca, Regional Advisor Adolescent Development and HIV/AIDS, UNICEF Middle East & North Africa Regional Office, with contribution from Dr Shoubo Rasheed Jalal, Regional Advisor, Gender, UNICEF Middle East & North Africa Region 
  • Julie Rialet, Research and Policy Associate, Girls Not Brides

GAGE in the media 

Article: How significant were the pledges at the London Family Planning Summit?

Devex, July 26, 2017

GAGE Director Nicola Jones was quoted in this Devex article in response to the $5 billion in government and donor pledges to improve and expand reproductive health services in developing countries at the recent London Family Planning Summit: 

Nicola Jones, principal research fellow at ODI, said: “The large number of new commitments and in particular the very significant commitments by a number of developing country governments … is very encouraging.”

“However, the overall outcome appears to still fall below the $8 billion … needed to expedite and scale up progress to support all women’s and adolescent girls’ access to lifesaving family planning services,” she added.

Read the GAGE and ODI policy brief, Family Planning: The Adolescent Imperative