Main content

Project with solution

GIRLS SHINE PROGRAM – International Rescue committee

The Girls Shine Program is presented by the IRC, who has been working in Kenya since 1992, providing health care, women’s protection, legal rights education and nutrition services to hundreds of thousands of refugees and their host communities.


Website | Email


Girls Shine is a program model and resource package that seeks to support, protect, and empower adolescent girls in humanitarian settings.



Nearly 46% of Kenyans live in poverty, according to the World Bank, and millions of people need assistance finding food. Natural disasters such as drought and floods threaten access to clean water, leaving many vulnerable to malnutrition and disease. In December 2015, a deadly cholera outbreak in the Dadaab refugee camp left hundreds infected. Refugees face unique challenges, such as unsafe housing and police harassment. Women and children are extremely vulnerable to abuse and exploitation; many children are forced to work rather than attend school.
Adolescent girls are among the most marginalized within vulnerable populations around the world. In places where humanitarian actors work, conflict and extreme poverty significantly increases a girl’s exposure to exploitation and abuse. During adolescence, while boys’ worlds begin to expand, girls’ worlds start to shrink. Girls’ expected position in households and communities forces them to work long hours and they are often the last to have access to health care and food. It is easy for girls to become isolated within their immediate families, with no opportunities to make friends, seek mentors, explore possibilities, develop important skills and build support networks. In communities around the world, the future for adolescent girls is limited by economic instability and restrictive ideas about the roles of women in society.


Solution and innovation

The Girl Shine program model builds upon the potential and power of girls, supporting them to be the drivers of their lives and futures. It is a program model and resource package that seeks to support, protect, and empower adolescent girls in humanitarian settings. Girl Shine has been designed to help contribute to the improved prevention of and response to violence against adolescent girls in humanitarian settings by providing them with skills and knowledge to identify types of GBV and seek support services if they experience or are at risk of GBV.

The Girl Shine program model and resource package can be used in multiple humanitarian settings, including conflict and natural disasters, as well as within the various phases of emergency response. It is based on the experience and knowledge gathered through years of IRC’s Women’s Protection and Empowerment efforts to reach adolescent girls in humanitarian settings. It has been adapted to reflect the latest research findings on the experiences of adolescent girls in humanitarian settings, and the nature of GBV against adolescent girls. Girl Shine represents the culmination of IRC’s learning, shaped by research findings, our technical expertise in working with adolescent girls and feedback from adolescent girls we work with and their caregivers.


If you are interested in more information on the Girl Shine program download the research package:



"When you have lost what I have lost, school becomes your everything,” Nasro (17), Dadaab refugee camp Kenya.

Photos: Martha Adams