Gender Dynamics

Girls' Unique Risks

Aimed at educators, education planners and policy-makers, this table, based on the Healing Classrooms assessments in Guinea and Sierra Leone, highlights suggested strategic protection strategies to be put in place.    

"Strategic Protection"

Possible Programming Strategies

Is gendered and particularly attentive to protection for girls and young women from sexual abuse and exploitation, from early pregnancy and HIV/AIDS exposure

  • Classroom Assistant program ("Enhanced" from the findings and recommendations of the Healing Classrooms assessments)

  • Girls' clubs

  • Boys' clubs

  • Mentoring for boys and girls

  • Reproductive health and sex education provided in age-appropriate, single-sex groups

  • Codes of conduct developed and signed by all teachers and education personnel

Is age-specific, attentive to class, ethnicity and other differences

  • Separate trainings provided for teachers at different levels in the school

  • Attention given to developing male and female youth friendly reproductive health services and GBV response mechanisms

Recognizes how physical and cognitive protection promote psychosocial well-being

  • Training for teachers and CAs on different dimensions of protection

Considers relationships between girls and women

  • Training for CAs acknowledges and openly discusses contrasting interests of women and girls versus men and boys. Training also explores how shared priorities on issues of mutual concern, e.g., GBV, encourage women and girls to work together for gender equality

Is attentive to women's and girls' empowerment

  • Provision of adult education for CAs

  • Encouragement for CAs to become teachers

  • Reproductive health and other trainings for CAs

  • Workshops to critically consider the different messages being conveyed

Engages men and women in examination of their own gender identities, masculinities, femininities, strengths and vulnerabilities

  • Teacher workshops – perhaps single-sex – where teachers talk about their changing social roles, and their corresponding feelings

Promotes and relies on active participation and empowerment

  • Girls' clubs and boys' clubs discuss (map, draw, etc.) vulnerabilities and risks, and identify solutions

  • Children and youth of both genders are involved in participatory M&E processes

Involves girls, young women, boys and young men as "knowers" of their own protection needs

  • Infrastructural changes such as latrine construction

  • Training and follow-up support for teachers and other education personnel

Promotes institutional change

  • Developing school self-assessment tools/checklists, etc.

Is attentive to collective futures

  • Works with girls' and boys' groups on future-oriented projects, e.g., older girls mentoring younger girls, community service projects


Click here to print a copy of the "Strategic Protections" Programming Strategies chart.


Return to the chart you created earlier . Add a third column to the chart and, based on the possible vulnerabilities you identified for different groups of children, identify possible strategic protection strategies for each.


Consider the particular risks and vulnerabilities that girls have in your context, and the sort of measures (if any) that are currently taken to provide protection. Review the current situation in light of the "strategic protection framework." What new or alternative approaches can you imagine now?

Definition: RH

reproductive health