Project Lehar - Adolescent Girls' Empowerment Programme

  • P Project/Program

? Activity Status: Unknown

Key Information

Aga Khan Foundation (India)’s Project Lehar, which means wave in Urdu, works to empower and improve the quality of life of out-of-school adolescent girls in Bahraich, Uttar Pradesh and Patna, Bihar. Lehar has a three-pronged empowerment approach for adolescents, comprising of scholastic support, vocational training and life skills education. It supports out-of-school girls through functional literacy programmes, encourages them to re-enroll into school and distance learning programmes (National Institute of Open Schooling), and provides remedial support, especially for class 10 exams. It trains girls in vocational skills to enter the formal job market, based on a thorough needs assessment of the girls and the choices available to them for meaningful livelihoods, and fosters entrepreneurship through innovative projects suited to the local context, like mushroom cultivation. Cutting across both the scholastic and vocational skills courses is life skills training which helps the girls build their confidence and agency, and understanding of how to successfully overcome the challenges they face in their day-to-day lives. Over 6,000 adolescent girls have benefited from AKF’s adolescent girls’ empowerment programme. Assessments have found that 42% of girls reported higher decision-making within their households. The programme also helped girls access livelihood opportunities, with 25% of vocational trainees now earning a regular income. Other results of the programme have been a shift in community attitudes towards girls’ roles and the need for a supportive environment, stopping and delaying of early marriage by the girls and development of community change-makers from amongst the programme alumni.

Lead Implementing Organization(s)


South Asia


Government Affiliation

Non-governmental program


2015 -


Prince's Trust International

Ministry Affiliation



Prince's Trust International, The Hans Foundation, Tata Trusts, Canada Fund for Local Initiatives

COVID-19 Response


Geographic Scope


Areas of Work Back to Top

Education areas


  • Secondary completion


  • Transition from school to work

Other skills

  • Financial literacy
  • Life skills/sexuality education
  • Rights/empowerment education
  • Social and emotional learning
  • Vocational training


  • Literacy
  • Numeracy
  • Other academic performance-related

Cross-cutting areas

  • Community sensitization
  • Early/child marriage
  • Economic/livelihoods (including savings/financial inclusion, etc.)
  • Empowerment
  • Gender equality
  • Menstrual hygiene management
  • Mentorship
  • Nutrition
  • Other aspects of sexual and reproductive health
  • Other cultural practices
  • Social and gender norms and beliefs
  • WASH (water, sanitation and hygiene)

Program participants

Target Audience(s)

Girls (both in school and out of school), Youth


14 - 20

School Enrolment Status

All out of school

School Level

  • Upper primary
  • Lower secondary
  • Upper secondary
  • Vocational

Other populations reached

  • Brothers
  • Fathers
  • Mothers
  • Other caregivers
  • Other community members - female
  • Other community members - male
  • Other family members

Participants include

  • Internal migrants (from other areas of the same country)

Program Approaches Back to Top

Community engagement/advocacy/sensitization

  • Community mobilization
  • General awareness-raising/community engagement

Life skills education

  • Gender, rights and power
  • Negotiation skills
  • Sexual and reproductive health (including puberty education)
  • Social and emotional learning (SEL) skills building

Menstrual hygiene management

  • Educating girls about menstruation

Social/gender norms change

  • Engaging parents/caregivers of students or school-age children/adolescents
  • Group activities with students or school-age children/adolescents
  • Other community mobilization activities

Tutoring/strengthening academic skills

  • Literacy - outside the classroom
  • Numeracy - outside the classroom
  • Tutoring - general

Program Goals Back to Top

Education goals

  • Improved academic skills (literacy and numeracy)
  • Improved social and emotional learning/skills and mindsets
  • Increased progression to secondary school
  • Increased re-enrolment in school among out-of-school children
  • Increased secondary school completion

Cross-cutting goals

  • Increased agency and empowerment
  • Increased employment/job-related skills
  • Increased knowledge of rights
  • More equitable gender attitudes and norms
  • Reduced child marriage