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Unleashing the Potential of Social Protection for Adolescent Girls and Women

Side Event for the 63rd Commission on the Status of Women
18 February 2019


(18 February 2019)  Over the last decade there has been increasing international attention on adolescence as a critical window of opportunity to fast-track social change, and on the potential of social protection to tackle multidimensional vulnerabilities, including gender inequalities. However, the focus on the pivotal intersection of social protection, gender and adolescence is much more recent.

On the occasion of the 63rd Commission on the Status of Women the United Kingdom, UNICEF and the GAGE consortium, coordinated by ODI, will hold the side event: Gender- and Adolescent-Responsive Social Protection: Unleashing the Potential of Social Protection for Adolescent Girls and Women.

Recording of the side event livestream


Bringing together global thought leaders, policy and programming experts, this event will highlight the role of policy, programming and evidence generation in advancing adolescent- and gender-responsive social protection. The event will explore how social protection can not only enhance adolescent girls’ and boys’ capabilities now - and strengthen opportunities for empowerment as they transition into early adulthood - but also how well designed social protection programmes can better tackle lifecourse and inter-generational cycles of poverty and gender inequalities.

The side event will be held on:

Tuesday 12th March 2019, 10.00 – 11.15am

Conference Room 1 (CR1)

United Nations Headquarters in New York City.

Opening remarks will be given by a Government Minister of the United Kingdom (to be named) and Henrietta E Fore, Executive Director, UNICEF. The session will be moderated by well-known journalist Femi Oke

Visit for more details as they become available.                                                   

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The CASH Plus Model: Improving Adolescent Wellbeing with Evidence
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The CASH Plus Model: Improving Adolescent Wellbeing with Evidence

(20 December 2018)  In Tanzania a new model of social protection is using research and evidence to improve outcomes for adolescent wellbeing. The results of this programme, called 'Cash Plus', are now documented in a new film produced by UNICEF Innocenti. Told largely through the voices of young people, the 10 minute documentary reveals the crucial role of research and evaluation in improving effectiveness of Tanzania's national Productive Social Safety Net cash transfer social protection programme.The new film is a rare example of a compelling visual narrative on the role of evidence generation in the development process.  "Far too often the complexity of the community development process is lost when internatioanl organizations seek to make short films about their interventions," said Dale Rutstein, Chief of Communication at UNICEF Innocenti. "The role of research and evaluation is the least likely component of the process to be captured in such films." The film examines the gaps discovered in the first phase of Tanzania's Productive Social Saftey cash transfer programme: household incomes and productive activity increased, but risks and challenges for adolescents, especially exposure to HIV, were unaffected. Evaluation evidence led to the development of the Cash Plus approach which linked critical services and sectors for adolescents to the households receiving transfers."The Cash Plus Model: Improving Adolescent Well-being with Evidence" could not have been produced without the generous support of the UNICEF Tanzania Country Office, the Tanzania Social Action Fund and the numerous adolescents and community training facilitators in the Rungwe District of Mbeya Province, Tanzania.

Research Projects

Adolescent wellbeing
Research Project Research Project

Adolescent wellbeing

Despite great strides in improving overall child well-being, progress has been slower in key areas of adolescent vulnerability, including exposure to violence, early marriage and school completion, especially among adolescent girls. The Lancet Commission ‘Our Future’ (2016) has examined the rapidly changing social and structural determinants of adolescent well-being and their implications on health promotion and prevention work.  It stresses the importance of adolescence as a critical period of formative growth that affects well-being across the life course. Although evidence is building in some domains of adolescent’s lives, greater understanding of the transition to adulthood and how different underlying factors interact is needed in order to inform the basis for effective programming and policy. The need to incorporate consideration of different structural factors into programme design is gaining support, yet there is still little guidance on systematic evidence-based approaches to employ in practice. The Adolescent Research Programme is advancing global understandings of adolescent well-being in selected countries and themes by defining the drivers of well-being outcomes (‘causes and consequences’) and examining effective policy and programme interventions (‘what works’). Research Priorities 2014 – 2018• Rigorous evidence generation on structural and social determinants of adolescent wellbeing across sectors and throughout the life course.• Understanding formal institutions, systems and policy processes as well as social and cultural norms affecting behaviours and policy implementation.• Analytical focus on age and gender gaps to shed light on the main drivers of adolescent vulnerability.Global Research PartnershipTogether with UK Department of International Development, Italy, SIDA, UNICEF as well as US Department of Labour, the Oak Foundation, and others, the global research partnership is working with multiple national governments and institutions to improve understandings of various dimensions of adolescents’ lives.The programme is linked to the Gender and Adolescence Global Evidence initiative. It leverages UNICEF’s programme technical capacity as well as networks of regional and country offices and implementing partners in low and middle income countries.Drawing on multi –disciplinary research expertise, the UNICEF programme has produced cutting edge research that explores what works to improve outcomes for adolescents.Quality evidence is having impact - informing effective policy and interventions in focus countries and beyond.