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

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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 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. Supporting the design and scale-up of evidence-informed policies and programmes targeted at adolescent girls. Fostering the rigorous evaluation of scalable innovations to address gender-specific barriers to education, in close collaboration with J-PAL’s global initiatives,  such as Learning for All, and sectors.
  2. Widely disseminating lessons on effective interventions and participating in high-level convening on girls’ education and empowerment to encourage investment in evidence-informed interventions and further evaluation.

Scientific Advisor

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:

  • Nigeria
  • Niger
  • Liberia
  • Sierra Leone
  • Togo
  • Benin
  • Senegal
  • Côte d’Ivoire

Case study: 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

Our People

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