Increased participation of women in all their diversity leads to more inclusive and resilient democracies, balanced economies, and stronger peacebuilding capacities. Yet, girls and young women are frequently shut out of political processes because they lack the confidence, connections or capacity. A global survey of 29,000 girls and women aged 15-24, from 29 countries, found that one in three (31%) respondents do not feel politics is open to their engagement or participation. Building the political skills, networks, and aspirations of girls at a young age is key to ensuring that the pipeline of women political leaders who are ready to be equal and active participants in political processes is constantly replenished by new generations.
DISRUPTHER is an inclusive civic and political leadership module that supports an action-oriented focus on the political engagement of adolescent girls and young women, reframing who leads and enabling power shifts that support their voice and agency.
To increase the pool of adolescent girls and young women with political skills and aspirations to be politically-active young leaders DISRUPTHER was founded on 3 core principles:
Importance of building a longer runway to political leadership for girls
If we wait until the usual age of political enfranchisement which is usually 18, for girls it’s already too late. Girls’ confidence peaks somewhere between the ages of 8-12. From that time forward, through puberty and adolescence, their horizons start to shrink. DISRUPTHER is geared towards adolescent girls and young women (AGYW), in all their diversity, aged 12-18 years old.
Without girls being able to access their political rights, all other rights are under threat
The DISRUPTHER modules center girls’ leadership through the lens of political and civic engagement, building young women’s capacity to engage politically and join the tide of women political leaders. It covers topics like safety planning, public speaking, political systems, mobilizing to make change, and so many more.
Programming needs to focus on "the Whole Girl"
DISRUPTHER is not intended to be a stand alone program. Rather, it was designed to be integrated into pre-existing, general leadership programming, as one part of a larger ecosystem, helping to fill a gap and support the "Whole Girl." Partners have the flexibility to contextualize the curriculum to fit the needs of its program participants, local political context, and implementation style.
Feedback from the DISRUPTHER pilots
DISRUPTHER was piloted in both Kenya and Brazil in late 2022-early 2023. The feedback received during the monitoring, evaluation and learning portion showed very positive results.
Kenya: 78% of participants stated increased confidence in their ability to engage in the community civically and politically
Brazil: 74% of participants stated they felt comfortable discussing issues related to politics and decision-making with others (62% increase)
The English version of the DISRUPTHER modules will be online in December 2023. Want to be notified when this takes place?
- Please note, given the importance of ensuring that partners are able to implement the program using safeguarding and do no harm principles, those wishing to use the DISRUPTHER modules in their programming will be asked to complete a detailed request form (available at the same time as the modules December 2023)