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Save the Children
The issue of empowering adolescent girls remains a continuous struggle in the Bangladesh context. Adolescent girls in Bangladesh have high drop-out rates from school, poor health and often restricted mobility and inability to influence key decisions on marriage and family planning. Rural areas have worse education and health outcomes than urban areas (excluding slum areas). According to the Bangladesh Demographic and Health Survey (BDHS) 2011, only 19.3% of all girls between the ages of 15-19 had completed their secondary education, and rural completion rates were a third of urban rates for all women. Bangladesh is believed to have one of the highest rates of adolescent and child marriage in the World, although the legal age of marriage is 18, it is reported that 65% of women between ages 20-24 were married before 18.
Tanisha (name of a girl that means “ambition”) worked with extremely poor adolescent girls in rural communities to help them have a VOICE in their lives through personal and economic empowerment. The program organized groups of 15-20 girls in the age group of 12 to19 years into Peer Education Groups that met several times a week at Safe Spaces in their communities. Trained peer educators led the peer groups through a nine-month tailored curriculum which covered life skills, adolescent and reproductive health, adolescent health, savings skills, and disaster risks reduction.