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"Kishori Sanghas" - An initiative for empowerment of adolescent girls in Bangladesh.

Image de l'UNICEF
© UNICEF/HQ97-0309/ Noorani
A community-based nutrition project centre of the Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee (BRAC)
Project objective

To create opportunities for adolescent girls to participate in empowering social and economic processes, while building their capacities to make informed choices in matters that relate to their own lives.

To create an enabling environment for adolescent girls' empowerment at the family, community and national levels.

Increased visibility and acceptance of adolescent girls outside household sphere.

Project Background

Adolescents today constitute more than a fifth of the population of Bangladesh, with 13.7 million girls and 14 million boys in the 10-19 year age-group. While data on this group is scattered and patchy, a recent review undertaken by UNICEF Bangladesh highlights some disturbing facts about the situation of adolescent girls.

  • More than 50% of adolescent girls are illiterate.
  • Almost 50% of girls are married by the age of 15, and 60% are mothers by the age of 19.
  • 60% of girls in the 15-19 age group are employed, predominantly in low-wage and insecure sectors of the economy.
  • More than 50% of adolescent girls are undernourished and suffer from anemia.
  • The majority of adolescent girls are uninformed or insufficiently informed about reproductive health and contraception.
  • The project focuses on adolescent girls and works at two levels. On one level it provides support and strengthens networks of Kishori Sanghas (adolescent girls' groups) in selected rural districts in Bangladesh. These groups will be "mentored" by NGOs that have demonstrated experience and capacity working with groups of adolescent girls, providing them with opportunities for education, training, and post-literacy activities.

At another level, the Project Office links with the Ministry of Women and Children Affairs/Department of Women Affairs of the Government of Bangladesh to carry out activities in the same communities that have Kishori Sanghas. In particular, it will carry out various sensitisation and training activities with elected members of local government, parents and adolescent boys to help create a more supportive environment for adolescent girls. At this level, Kishori Sanghas will also be provided with platforms for effective implementation of other national programmes, policies, and services for adolescents.

With UNICEF's added support to these pre-existing structures and support to the Government for the community and national level activities, it is expected that a more enabling environment will be created for adolescent girls who have become socially and economically empowered.



Project partners

National Counterpart : Dept. of Women's Affairs, Ministry of Women and Children Affairs, Govt. of the People's Republic of Bangladesh.

Implementing Partner:

Associated Implementing Partner: UNFPA, national parters-BRAC, Center for Mass Education in Science and Population Council Interregional Office.


Opportunities created for adolescent girls to experience collectivity and build solidarity.

Enhanced capacity of adolescent girls to act in their own interests.

Enhanced and expanded economic capacities and opportunities, and greater autonomy for adolescent girls.

Increase in girls' school retention rates, enrolment and age at marriage.

Enhanced awareness of adolescent girls and confidence to exercise life choices.