J-PAL Africa’s Girls’ Education & Empowerment Portfolio

Two girls doing schoolwork at desk
Photo: Richard Juilliart | Shutterstock
Our Girls’ Education and Empowerment (GE&E) Portfolio aims to improve the lives of adolescent girls in West Africa by ensuring that policies and programmes targeting girls are informed by scientific evidence

Our approach

We aim to partner with West African governments, international and non-governmental organizations, and think tanks to leverage rigorous evidence to improve the lives of adolescent girls in West Africa. We do so by:

  1. Ensuring that policy is informed by scientific evidence through the scale-up of effective interventions and by applying research insights to policy design.
  2. Fostering the generation of policy-relevant research by matching governments and implementing partners, with affiliated professors in the J-PAL network to evaluate scalable innovations to address gender-specific barriers to education.
  3. Widely disseminating relevant evidence and building capacity for evidence use among key decision-makers in the girls’ education and empowerment space in West Africa.

Scientific Advisor

Selim Gulesci

Selim Gulesci is the Scientific Advisor for our Girls’ Education and Empowerment Portfolio. He is a Professor of Economics at Trinity College Dublin and his research spans a variety of topics from violence to economic empowerment, and many countries across sub-Saharan Africa from Burkina Faso to Uganda. We are delighted to have the opportunity to draw on his expert scientific insights and thought leadership, in close partnership with J-PAL Africa’s Scientific Directors and Global Sector Chairs.


Where we work

We have ongoing projects and are exploring new opportunities in the following priority countries:

Map of countries where J-PAL Africa’s Girls’ Education & Empowerment portfolio works

We hope to expand our footprint beyond West Africa soon and are open to partnerships in East and North Africa.

Spotlight project: AGILE project in Nigeria

As part of the Adolescent Girls’ Initiative for Learning and Empowerment (AGILE) in Nigeria, we support seven state governments across Nigeria to design and evaluate an evidence-informed life skills intervention Our approach centers around codifying the evidence on the impact of life skills programmes and what makes them effective, paired with local data collection to design a globally-informed-locally grounded programme. We facilitated design through workshops wherein we worked with partners to develop a solid theory of change for the life skills programme and identify relevant curriculum content using an evidence-informed process.  We are also lending assistance in assessing the quality of implementation and the impact of the programme through both process monitoring support and a randomized evaluation, the latter designed and delivered by the Gender Innovation Lab. We work closely with federal and state project implementation units, the World Bank and Implementing Partners, as well as the Gender Innovation Lab. 

Photo captured at one of the AGILE design workshops in Nigeria, May 2022
Photo captured at one of the AGILE design workshops in Nigeria, May 2022

Portfolio team

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