Photo: Adolescent girls study in Nepal. Credit: Jim Holmes AUSAID.
Gender and Adolescence: Global Evidence (GAGE) is a nine-year (2015–2024) study that 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. GAGE is undertaking research with 18,000 adolescents in six low- and middle-income countries in Africa (Ethiopia, Rwanda), Asia (Bangladesh, Nepal) and the Middle East (Jordan, Lebanon). GAGE is also evaluating programmes in those countries that serve adolescents, so that we can understand what sorts of programmes most effectively support girls and boys to reach their full potential. GAGE 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. Core to GAGE’s mission is exploring ‘what works’ to help reduce poverty and exclusion for adolescent girls and boys and fast-track social change for young people, their families and communities. We are:
The GAGE consortium, managed by the Overseas Development Institute (ODI), includes 35 partner organisations from around the world. These organisations are known for their expertise in research, policy and programming in the fields of adolescence, gender and social inclusion. GAGE is funded by UK aid from the UK government.
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.