PORT-AU-PRINCE, May 9, 2012 — Today the World Bank launched the Adolescent Girls Initiative (AGI) in Haiti. The Initiative is a global public-private partnership aimed at fostering economic independence among 12,000 young girls and young women in eight countries. Through the AGI in Haiti, 1,000 adolescent girls between the ages of 17 and 20 will receive non-traditional vocational training to be provided in a number of selected training centers.
The young girls will be trained in areas such as work ethics, self-confidence, and professional conduct. They will also receive a stipend to be paid via a mobile banking system to cover the cost of transport and other costs associated with participation in the training program. After the training they will be offered an internship which will be considered as the first phase of employment. The internship will take into account the needs of the partner employers involved in the initiative.
Sheyla Durandisse, Chief of Staff in the Ministry for Women’s Affairs and Women’s Rights, said: “the Haiti Adolescent Girls Initiative contains community, educational, and professional components to address the challenges young girls are facing in Haiti and thus to improve their social and economic conditions.”
The training will be carried out in poor neighborhoods in Port-au-Prince. 500 young girls will be trained in 2012 and 500 in 2013.
In Haiti, where people under the age of 30 account for roughly 70 percent of the population, adolescent girls and young women from poor homes have greater difficulties to find a first employment than boys with the same educational level. This is the case in many developing countries. The latest World Development Report indicates that investing in adolescent girls can break the poverty cycle from one generation to the next. In Argentina, for example, income increased significantly and employment rates rose by 9 to 12 percentage points for young girls participating in the Progama Joven. In Peru, the income of young girls participating in the Projoven project rose by 92 percent after 18 months of training.
“Vocational training is a key factor for the development of human capital in Haiti. It is crucial to the employment challenges and the country’s growth over the next five years and beyond,” said Alexandre V. Abrantes, the World Bank’s Special Envoy to Haiti.
The Adolescent Girls Initiative
The AGI was launched in Liberia in 2008 as part of the World Bank Group’s Gender Action Plan—Gender Equality as Smart Economics— which is aimed at helping adolescent girls make the transition to productive employment.
The US$22 million initiative is already under way in Afghanistan, Jordan, Liberia, Nepal, the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Rwanda, and South Sudan. The Bank is working with partners including the Nike Foundation and the governments of the following countries: Afghanistan, Australia, Denmark, Jordan, Liberia, Nepal, Norway, the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, the United Kingdom, Rwanda, South Sudan, and Sweden. The World Bank is also establishing partnerships with other interested public and private sector organizations.
World Bank Assistance to Haiti
The World Bank Group committed US$479 million over the first 24 months to Haiti’s reconstruction. This support was provided through new funding, disbursements, private sector support, and debt relief.
IDA Donors have allocated US$530 million to Haiti from IDA 16’s Crisis Window for reconstruction. The Interim Strategy Note programmed half of these resources for 2012. With about 10% of pledged aid flows, IDA is one of Haiti’s 5 largest donors.