Adolescent Sexuality – Values and Conflicts in the Field

Suniti Neogy, Tipping Point’s Gender Advisor, recently had another opportunity to contribute to Tarshi’s In Plainspeak online magazine. In this op-ed, Suniti discusses how even the most motivated field staff working on sexual and reproductive health and rights can at times get caught in a conflict between their own values and the prevalent socio-cultural norms. Access the blog via the link below, or click here for past contributions of Tipping Point Staff to Tarshi publications

CEFM Learning Xchange December 2019

Welcome back to the biannual CEFM Learning Xchange Newsletter! In this edition, we’re sharing a webinar about applying theory to practice with social norms programming, a new podcast about learning from failure in CEFM research, a girls’ activist curriculum and other ready-to-use program and evaluation tools, updates from SVRI, and some inspiration to keep you going in this journey. Please peruse and enjoy!

You can stay engaged with the CEFM Learning Xchange through workplace, this listserv and our webinars.

In Solidarity,

Tipping Point Initiative

Lessons Learned: RCTs and Communities

Listen to the latest episode of CARE Failing Forward, in which Dipendra Sharma (Team Lead, Tipping Point, Nepal) and Anne Sprinkel (Project Director, Tipping Point) discuss their experience with the Phase 2 randomized control trial (RCT) to evaluate Tipping Point, and the risks of sacrificing communities’ needs to fulfill the methodological demands of research.

Featured Resource: Girls Not Brides’ Stand Up, Speak Out Activist Training

Young people are the most affected by child marriage: we are not going to end this harmful practice without them. Girls Not Brides developed a youth activism training program, called “Stand Up, Speak Out”. These training resources (available in English and Hindi) offer you a carefully planned series of workshops, all designed to empower young people; both by building knowledge around child marriage and by strengthening the skills they need to become powerful change makers.

Promising Practices and Resources

Videos about working with adolescents to prevent child marriage in the MENA region (Arabic with English subtitles)

CARE has an established global expertise on ASRH programming through the CARE Global SRHR team. The MENA team also has developed and tracked the Impact Growth Strategy “The Future She Deserves”; along with an online platform of ASRH tools and approaches used in humanitarian context. In addition, MENA has produced several videos to inform adolescents on ASRH topics and initiate dialogue with their parents and community members; conducted research in crisis effected countries on CEFM through the CARE Tipping Point Project; piloted Young Mothers Club project implemented by the Northern Syria team in collaboration with UNFPA and its local partner, Syria Relief and Development and the Inter-Agency Working Group for SRH in Crisis-Settings engagement.

In these videos, Community Ambassadors are discussing how they engage with adolescents and the communities to prevent child marriage, and help mitigate the negative effects of CEFM. These videos address everything from SRHR to education. The link also contains a learning brief on ASRH in MENA.

Tipping Point’s Participant Manuals, M&E Methods Briefs, and Evaluation Tools

Tipping Point has produced integrated implementation manuals following our core program pillars of girls’ movement building, social norms, adolescent SRHR, and alternatives for girls. The first of a series of manuals is now available here. Coming soon: religious leaders, boy activists, adolescent VSLA and more!

Additionally, Tipping Point has just released a series of monitoring and evaluation methods briefs that detail how to use feminist and developmental evaluation methods to assess social norms change. Check them out here! Stay tuned for more!

Finally, our Phase 2 mixed method evaluation tools are available for adaptation and use here. We hope that they are helpful as you work to also assess changes in gender inequitable social norms.

“Is the Juice Worth the Squeeze?” Insights form Applying Theory to Norms Programming

This webinar helps explain how and why labor-intensive norms-informed interventions are worth the effort, and how you can do it for your programming. It also does a great job of showing how the theories and practice about gender norms and social norms can work together to create positive change. 



The Sexual Violence Research Initiative hosted their annual forum October 21-24, 2019. Several important discussions related to CEFM occurred, including a presentation on norms-shifting interventions through a side event for the Learning Collaborative for Normative Change by Tipping Point Project Director Anne Sprinkel.

The 3 takeaways that people working to end CEFM should take away from the SVRI conference are:

  1. Implementing gender transformative and social norms approaches in emergencies is hard – but that does not mean that we can’t or shouldn’t do it. Reach out to Ezgi Emri with CARE Turkey who can tell you more about integrating GBV and SRHR approaches in a complex context or Anne Sprinkel to hear about SASA! in Dadaab refugee camp.
  2. With so much talk about gender transformative approaches – amongst which CARE Rwanda’s Indashikyrwa was consistently highlighted – there was almost no discussion of Staff Transformation and its centrality to quality, sustainable, and credible programming with communities.
  3. Scale – both processes and outcomes – and costing are both incredibly important components to document and understand to influence our partners, peers, donors and governments. However, these areas of study are severely lacking in the world of violence against women and girls.

See other CARE Colleagues’ takeaways on the forum here.

Inspiration: Fuel for the fight

  1. Suraiya Sultana of CARE Bangladesh captured the story of Shawnpa (pictured below), an adolescent girl who was able to improve her family relationships and correct a misunderstanding due to reflection about sexual and reproductive rights. Read Shawnpa’s story here.
  1. 19-year-old Khadiza Akter Khushi led hundreds of people to the home of her soon-to-be husband. The walk is thought to be a first in a country where, for centuries, the opposite has happened: men have walked to the homes of their brides on their wedding day. For Khadiza and her husband it was, quite simply, the right thing to do. “It is a matter of women’s rights. Today, if a girl goes to marry a boy, then no one is harmed.” (BBC)

Story of Change: A Reflection On Choice

Shawpna Aktar is 15 years old and a member of a Tipping Point group at Kukraporshi fun center. Kokraporshi is a village of Jamalganj Upazila under Sachna Bazar Union. It has one government primary school. 80% of its children are school going, but issues related to sexuality/ sexual health is not a subject of discussion in the schools. Suraiya Sultana, Project Officer at CARE Bangladesh, shares Shawnpa’s story in the latest Story of Change. Read about it here.

Tipping Point featured in Tarshi’s In Plainspeak Digital Magazine

Tipping Point recently had the oppportunity to contribute to Tarshi’s In Plainspeak online magazine. This publication explores issues related to sexuality in a way that is gender-sensitive, non-heterosexist and affirms respect for all people and their right to sexual well-being.

In Tipping Point’s first contribution, titled “Not My Fault: Reclaiming Public Spaces Along with My Own Sexuality,” Yuleidy Merida shares a story of a Tipping Point participant. When girls and women can move freely, without fear for their immediate safety or the social sanctions they may encounter, they can show up – as participants and leaders – in different spaces. Taslima’s attendance in various Tipping Point sessions gave her the opportunity and strength to follow her dreams and to advocate by herself. It took her some time to convince her mother about going back to school. But with a new sense of confidence and thanks to the comradery of her Fun Center peers, she decided to finish school and serve as an army officer.

In our next article, “Let’s Get Uncomfortable: How the Control of Girls’ Sexuality Is Everybody’s Business in the World of Child Marriage”, Anne Sprinkel explains the connection between control of female sexuality and child marriage. CEFM lies at a particularly unique intersection of patriarchal discrimination and control for approximately 700 million women: on the surface, girls lose their ability to make one of the most intimate decisions of their life – who and when to marry.[2] As the impacts of this practice unravel, we see it is done at the expense of girls’ schooling, chances for paid employment, “the refusal to permit them control over their sexuality and reproduction, and a tolerance of their vulnerability to gender-based violence”.[3] While understanding the impacts of CEFM is important for response, we know that prevention is both vital and achievable.