This research was conducted with adolescent girls, their families and communities in the Sahel region of Burkina Faso and Mali where people struggle with a long, complex and violent crisis. Its primary focus is the rights and voices of adolescent girls.
The Adolescent Girls in Crisis series is informed by and centred upon the voices and experiences of girls at risk in some of the world’s most volatile and impoverished locations. This latest report focuses on the protracted crisis in the Sahel region and talks to girls and young women affected by violence and insecurity in Burkina Faso and Mali. The research also includes interviews with adolescent boys, parents, guardians and other key members of their communities in order to better understand the social context and expectations that form girls’ experiences and shape their lives.
There is a dearth of evidence on the situation of adolescent girls in this conflict context and their unique needs are unseen and unmet. Their age and gender make them particularly vulnerable to the surrounding violence, which many have lived with all their lives, and which affects every aspect of their existence. However, their voices are rarely heard and their rights to security, education, health - not protected in the best of times - are rarely upheld in the worst of times.
Girls' right to be consulted
Girls have the right to be consulted about their needs and priorities, and having a better understanding of the ways in which adolescent girls, in several different contexts, navigate ongoing crises, will provide a solid basis for the humanitarian sector to work with them. Our research project seeks to further this understanding: focusing not just on areas of concern for adolescent girls, but also on the positive ways in which they respond to their circumstances and strive to support their communities.
The research explores how adolescent girls within two age brackets of lower and upper adolescence (10-14 and 15-19 years old respectively) understand the unique impact that crisis has had upon them. It is driven by a desire to understand, what factors have most impact on the insecurity of adolescent girls in the Sahel, how they navigate this insecurity and what positive changes would help them feel more secure.