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Our approach

Adolescent girls study in Nepal. Photo: Jim Holmes/AusAID

GAGE is combining quantitative and qualitative methods to explore the gendered experiences of adolescents as they progress through the second decade of their lives and into early adulthood.

We are also evaluating programmes that serve adolescents in those countries to better understand which interventions most effectively support girls and boys to reach their full potential.

Our research has a strong focus on the most vulnerable adolescents, in line with the Sustainable Development Goals’ (SDGs) commitment to ‘leave no one behind’. Our sample includes adolescents who are out of school, refugees, have disabilities, are married or divorced, and/or are already parents.

The results will support policy and programme actors to more effectively reach adolescent girls and boys, by focusing attention on what is needed at sub-national, national and international levels in terms of creating adolescent-responsive systems, services and programming.

GAGE is:

  • mapping and reviewing existent evidence to identify what we know and do not know about adolescent well-being
  • generating the world’s largest cross-country dataset on adolescence – by interviewing adolescent girls and boys, their caregivers, and their siblings, as well as their teachers and other community members, about the gendered risks and opportunities that young people face and the ways in which these shape the development outcomes of young people themselves, their families and their communities
  • evaluating a variety of types of programmes aimed at transforming adolescents’ lives (e.g. school stipends and cash transfers, adolescent clubs providing educational support, life-skills training and/or violence prevention awareness). Our research is exploring which interventions are effective for which adolescents in terms of programme modalities, timing, intensity and duration, and also capturing legacy effects over time, including whether programmes reshape gendered social norms and promote social cohesion
  • contributing to efforts to meet the SDGs, by focusing attention on what is needed at sub-national, national and international levels in terms of creating adolescent-responsive systems, services and programming
  • engaging international, national and sub-national stakeholders to strengthen the policy, services and programmes that shape adolescent well-being on a daily basis.

Research ethics

GAGE is committed to the highest ethical standards to ensure that the vulnerable young people with whom we work are not harmed by our research, and that their rights are protected.

Our approach to ethics is based on DFID’s (2011) Ethics Principles for Research and Evaluation, the Economic and Social Research Council (2015) Framework for Research Ethics, the OECD (2011) Fragile States Principles, and the World Health Organization and Center for Disease Control’s guidelines on researching violence against women and children (2005).

The key principles underpinning GAGE’s approach are avoiding harm and protecting the human rights of individuals and groups with which we interact. We take a range of measures to ensure participation in research and evaluation is voluntary and based on fully informed consent, and that all information provided is kept confidentially and securely. The strategy for operationalising these principles involves working in accordance with international human rights conventions and covenants (including the Convention on the Rights of the Child and children’s right to be heard), while also recognising and respecting differences between country contexts.

For fieldwork, the ODI’s Research Ethics Committee is the UK ‘Institutional Review Board [IRB] of record’ and George Washington University is the US ‘IRB of record’. We follow national ethics guidelines in the countries we are working in and adhere to guidance from our country research partners on the processes for this. We have secured ethical approvals for all the relevant international and national research partners for the roll out of the GAGE baseline activities.