Global South

In 2007, supporting adolescent girls was an untested premise, and far from an international priority. The tireless work of many activists has changed that, helping to galvanize new commitments in support for girls. Today, a growing number of girl-focused organizations and initiatives are directed towards the Global South, yet far too many girls still remain out of reach.

Focusing on the Hardest-to-Reach Girls

Building on eight years of co-investment with Nike Inc. on the Girl Effect, we see urgent new opportunities to deepen the girl movement in the Global South. We’ve challenged ourselves to ask: How can we use our approach to reach even more girls? After research and many consultations with practitioners, we’ve identified four areas that currently receive little attention in the girl movement but have a drastic impact on the lives of girls globally.

HaitiOur work focuses mainly on achieving long-term policy and cultural change through supporting local movements, leadership and organizations working directly with girls, with the goal of reaching the hardest to reach girls in the most impacted communities. This approach is reflected in each of our four broad areas below. We are continuing to consult and learn from others across each of these areas, so that we can assess where and how NoVo’s investments can have the greatest impact.

  • Economic migration: Every year, over 18 million girls are caught up in the fraught and dangerous path of migration, a long and varied journey that only increases girls’ marginalization, vulnerability and isolation. By studying migration flows, we and our partners are identifying interventions that could improve conditions for migrant girls—at departure, during transit, and upon arrival—as they seek factory work, domestic work, or refuge in a different country altogether.
  • Girls in emergencies: Disasters don’t discriminate, but people do – and in times of crisis, the needs of girls are not only overlooked but often become even more acute. In disasters, gender inequality can be reinforced, perpetuated, and increased – making bad situations even worse for girls. Conflict discriminates as well, using girls as tools and weapons in war. The good news is: what’s happening to adolescent girls is both predictable and preventable – and we see possibility for change through the protocols and mandates of the humanitarian sector. If we influence those – and support the girl champions throughout this field — we could see significant impact.
  • Sexual violence: Sexual violence, including child marriage, is the most pervasive barrier to a girl’s potential. Even without experiencing violence themselves, girls are often impacted by the fear of violence– fear can drive girls to isolate themselves from peers, schools, and opportunities. Because of its ubiquity and complexity, this issue remains largely absent from the global agenda for girls. Ending sexual violence against girls will include high-impact funding opportunities to create conditions where girls are free from violence – such as providing safe spaces for girls and community-based efforts to shift the power dynamics that keep girls vulnerable to violence.
  • Girls at the margins: There are girls that multilaterals and global donors will never reach – those in deeply rural areas, or in domestic servitude. We believe the best way to reach them is through those closest to them – community-driven, grassroots organizations. Here especially, we engage other donors to join us.

From invisibility to investment

Our first chapter of investing in girls helped to move them from the shadows to the global agenda. Our hope now is to bring more girls and issues to light, globally, to ensure all girls receive the resources and opportunities they deserve.