Girl Effect has been awarded a place on the Patrick J. McGovern Foundation’s (PJMF) Data to Safeguard Human Rights Accelerator Program, to advance its use of technology and data (specifically, cloud computing practices) to support girls along their sexual and reproductive health journeys.

Girl Effect’s project – Power and potential: Unlocking data and digital ecosystems to realize girls’ sexual and reproductive health and rights – will focus on gaining a deeper understanding into how girls engage with Girl Effect’s sexual health and rights products. This data* will improve Girl Effect’s ability to show girls relevant content, assess their readiness to access a sexual health service and refer them to it successfully.

The program will support Girl Effect’s ambition to design more personalized, data-driven, digital experiences for girls that enable them to learn about and act on their sexual and reproductive health and rights, by connecting them first to information tailored to their tastes and needs and then to services.

Lisa Adams, Director of Product and Technology at Girl Effect, said, “Data is essential to understanding girls’ lived realities and to building solutions that tackle the unique challenges they face. We’re thrilled to be part of the PJMF Accelerator, which will help us gain even deeper insight into our data so that we can serve girls more effectively and deliver even more impact.”

The 9-month program provides in-kind contributions of technology, mentorship, and expertise, as well as funding to cover project expenses. As part of the cohort, Girl Effect will be working alongside other global nonprofit organizations seeking to integrate cloud computing practices into their work on a range of human rights issues – including global health, cyber security and migration.

Using the power of tech to unlock the power of girls

Access to sexual and reproductive health services is a human right so often denied to girls around the world. Without access to these services, girls have less control of their own sexual and reproductive health and lose the ability to make informed decisions about their own body. This can have multiplying impacts on the choices and opportunities they have access to far into the future.

Girl Effect believes that if girls are inspired and equipped with the information they need, through products built for them, such as our chatbot in South Africa, Big Sis, they will be empowered to make positive choices. Our evidence shows that this works, with girls taking positive action for their sexual wellbeing after engaging with our content and products and creating demand for services. Our vision now is to build the bridge that connects girls all the way through to sexual health services, transforming how support is delivered.

Girl Effect has been building a rich repository of data for over a decade through our programs, engaging with girls via websites, social media, SMS, IVR and chatbots. Reaching 50 million across Africa and Asia, data powers all the media we build and the platforms and channels we use to help adolescent girls make different choices and changes in their lives and to educate them on the rights that are afforded to them.

Now we want to find new ways to leverage and optimize our data around when and how girls are driven to access services, so we can design social and behavior journeys that provide girls with more targeted content when it is likely to have the greatest impact.

This is important not only because it can help girls lead happier and healthier lives, but also because our content improves awareness and understanding of girls’ rights – knowledge that can help them negotiate and redefine what they are told is possible “for a girl”.

*Protecting girls’ data privacy and treating it ethically is of the utmost importance to Girl Effect. We have rigorous policies and processes in place to help us manage our data.

About the Patrick J. McGovern Foundation

The Patrick J. McGovern Foundation is a global 21st century philanthropy bridging the frontiers of artificial intelligence, data science and social impact to create a thriving, equitable and sustainable future for all. The Foundation’s work focuses on bringing together academia, practitioners, and civil society to pursue the potential of AI and data science to address some of the world’s most urgent challenges.