May 2 2024

A GirI-Informed Approach to Data Collection


By Kajal Kotecha, Global G.L.O.W. Data Analyst

In recent years, there’s been an important shift towards recognizing that adolescent girls have the power to shape their own futures and communities. This shift, known as “meaningful adolescent girl engagement,” is an approach to program design and development that provides girls with the agency to play a key role in shaping interventions that directly affect their lives. 

At Global G.L.O.W., we believe girls have the right to express their voices and opinions on the issues that matter the most to them. Over the past year, we have enhanced our efforts to meaningfully engage girls in our work, including in our data collection processes. We’re proud to share that at the end of 2023, we developed and piloted new girl-engagement processes when we tested an outcome evaluation survey with a GLOW Club implementing partner in Andhra Pradesh, India. 

Integrating additional girl-engagement processes allows us to ensure that our data collection methods are tailored to meet the unique needs and preferences of girls. When girls inform our data collection processes, the quality of data we get improves. This not only improves data quality, but it also helps girls feel that they are valued: That their voices, perspectives, and concerns matter. 

The Process – “Our Approach to Engaging Girls”   

We build girls’ agency and power through our signature program, GLOW Club. One of the key methods we use to measure impact is by asking girls in our programming to answer a survey before and after participating in our program. The survey assesses their growth in social-emotional learning (SEL) skills, and other skills like leadership, self-advocacy, positive future outlook, and their beliefs on gender norms. These areas of growth directly relate to our Theory of Change, which outlines how our program brings a positive change in the lives of adolescent girls worldwide. 

GLOW Club Members welcomed our Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning team to Andhra Pradesh, India.

Our Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning Team developed a new survey to pilot with groups of 12-20 adolescent girls from three different GLOW Clubs in rural villages throughout Andhra Pradesh. The survey was carefully developed to be at an appropriate age and language literacy level. 

As part of the planning phase of our girl-engagement process, we developed an observation checklist so that we could keep track of what we observed while the girls completed the survey. Our checklist included various indicators aimed at understanding the girls’ survey experience, including if they skipped questions, hesitated in their responses, showed excitement or confusion, and the time taken to complete the survey. 

Our girl-engagement process ensured that Club Members were fully informed during data collection.

In addition, we developed discussion questions to facilitate open and meaningful conversations with the girls following the survey. These questions allowed us to further engage with them and delve into their survey experience to gather any additional feedback that they might have on our program and data collection sharing processes. 

During the implementation phase, we ensured our girl-engagement process was meaningful by following the principles developed by UNESCO. We made sure that the girls understood why we were testing the survey and how much we valued their input. We also emphasized that the survey was completely voluntary. Our goal was for all girl participants to feel comfortable and empowered throughout the data collection process.

The feedback and insights from our engagement process was analyzed to incorporate girls’ voices and suggestions, refining both our survey and other aspects of our programming. Our engagement process, outlined in the cycle below, highlights our ongoing focus on meaningfully engaging girls in our program design and implementation:

Figure 1: A Snapshot of Our Girl-Engagement Process

The Results – “Insights From Girls’ Point of View”

Overall, the girls shared positive feedback on the survey. Many girls were excited about the survey and loved how easy it was to navigate and complete. They were comfortable with the survey format and found it helpful to have the questions read aloud in Telugu when needed. Plus, they shared how the survey questions made them think and discover new things about themselves! While most of the girls grasped the questions with ease, a few needed extra guidance and clarification on the response options. 

The most fascinating finding from the discussions was that many girls expressed that they would like to share with us what they’ve learned in GLOW Club through the creative arts. Some of these ideas, like dance and drama, have already been incorporated into our upcoming projects. For example, in a future outcome evaluation survey we’ll conduct in the United States, girls will have the opportunity to choose how they want to express the personal growth they’ve experienced from participation in GLOW Club via acting, dancing, social media creation, or whatever mode they would like.

Another interesting finding is that many girls expressed a preference for receiving the survey results through social media, YouTube, and directly from their mentors.  They also showed enthusiasm for learning more about GLOW girls in other countries and would love to receive this information electronically on their parents’ mobile phones, and via communication apps like WhatsApp. Essentially girls want to be involved even more!

Survey results showed that Club Members were eager to continue sharing their GLOW Club experience.

Based on the feedback we received from girls through this new girl-engagement process, here’s how we commit to integrating girls’ insights and ideas into our future data collection processes:

  • We’ll make sure the survey is an appropriate length, translated into the local language, at the appropriate literacy level, culturally relevant, and that any confusing questions are simplified with clearer response options. 
  • In addition to the traditional method of collecting information via surveys, girls will have the opportunity to express their thoughts and personal growth from GLOW Club in creative ways, such as through dance and acting.
  • We’ll share the data back with girls using methods they prefer, such as YouTube.

By actively involving GLOW Club participants in our data collection and evaluation processes, we acknowledge the inherent power of girls. This shifts the paradigm from girls being passive recipients of data collection processes to active agents within programs developed for them.  By listening to girls’ voices and incorporating their perspectives from the survey into future planning, we are more likely to have a bigger impact on girls’ lives and communities. 

Special thanks to Holy Cross Social Service Society in Andhra Pradesh, India, who operate Global G.L.O.W. programming in safe, small group after-school sessions. We’re thankful to the girls who provided their feedback and perspective with us through our girl-engagement process, and look forward to continuing to engage girls from GLOW Clubs around the world in our data collection processes and program planning.

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