Improving Adolescents’ Lives in Afghanistan (IALA)

  • P Project/Program

I Inactive

Key Information

Recent figures count one in four people in Afghanistan as adolescent (age 10-19). This is significant proportion of the population at a critical age range. Yet many adolescents in Afghanistan do not have opportunities to break cycles of deprivation. Girls in particular: Leave school early: upper secondary enrolment is only 24% ; Are mal-nourished and anaemic: 17.1% of girls age 15-19 are underweight ; and And marry early, are subjected to violence, and are deprived of sexual and reproductive rights: nearly one in six (15.2%) girls is married before 16 . Adolescents in Afghanistan are largely invisible as citizens, excluded from decisions that affect them and have limited access to information. They also have limited opportunities to acquire and share knowledge and to actively participate in decision-making processes. To address this gap, the IALA Consortium, through a partnership between UNICEF Afghanistan, targets a quarter of the population in 11 districts in Bamyan and Badghis, over a 38-month reach the overall goal of this project of improving the lives of adolescents by increasing the autonomy that adolescent girls and boys have over decisions affecting their lives through life skills, self-expression activities, and community engagement. A total of 3,601 adolescent boys and girls (1,897 adolescent girls or 48%) have been selected as members of the Multi-Purpose Adolescent Groups (MAG) and trained and mentored as peer educators in life skills topics. To date, MAG members reached at least 28,760 adolescents (15,295 girls or 53%) with peer mentoring and awareness sessions on life skills, leading to improved self-confidence, communication and decision making skills among adolescents.

Lead Implementing Organization(s)


South Asia


Government Affiliation

Non-governmental program


2017 - 2020


Ministry Affiliation


COVID-19 Response


Geographic Scope


Areas of Work Back to Top

Education areas


  • Post-secondary
  • Primary completion
  • Primary enrollment
  • Primary to secondary transition
  • Secondary completion

Other skills

  • Life skills/sexuality education


  • School-related gender-based violence

Cross-cutting areas

  • Adolescent pregnancy/childbearing
  • Community sensitization
  • Early/child marriage
  • Economic/livelihoods (including savings/financial inclusion, etc.)
  • Empowerment
  • Female genital mutilation/cutting
  • Food/water security
  • Gender equality
  • HIV and STIs
  • Menstrual hygiene management
  • Mentorship
  • Nutrition
  • Other aspects of sexual and reproductive health
  • Other cultural practices
  • Sexual harassment & coercion
  • Social and gender norms and beliefs
  • Sports
  • Violence (at home, in relationships)
  • WASH (water, sanitation and hygiene)

Program participants

Target Audience(s)

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


10 - 19

School Enrolment Status

All in school

School Level

  • Lower primary
  • Upper primary
  • Lower secondary
  • Upper secondary

Other populations reached

  • Brothers
  • Community leaders
  • Fathers
  • Mothers
  • Other community members - female
  • Other community members - male
  • Other family members
  • Parent-teacher associations/school management committees
  • Religious leaders
  • School administrators
  • Sisters
  • Spouses/partners
  • Teachers - female
  • Teachers - male

Participants include

  • Adolescent mothers (pregnant or parenting)
  • People with disabilities

Program Approaches Back to Top

Community engagement/advocacy/sensitization

  • Community mobilization
  • General awareness-raising/community engagement

Life skills education

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

Social/gender norms change

  • Group activities with students or school-age children/adolescents
  • Other community mobilization activities
  • Work with community leaders
  • Work with religious leaders

Program Goals Back to Top

Education goals

  • Improved social and emotional learning/skills and mindsets
  • Increased enrolment in primary school
  • Increased primary school completion
  • Increased progression to secondary school
  • Increased re-enrolment in school among out-of-school children
  • Increased secondary school completion
  • Increased years of schooling
  • Reduced absenteeism

Cross-cutting goals

  • Changed social norms
  • Improved critical consciousness
  • Improved financial literacy and savings
  • Improved nutrition
  • Improved sexual and reproductive health
  • Improved understanding of sexual harassment, coercion, and consent
  • Increased advocacy/civic engagement
  • Increased agency and empowerment
  • Increased knowledge of HIV, puberty, and sexual and reproductive health
  • Increased knowledge of rights
  • More equal power in relationships
  • More equitable gender attitudes and norms
  • Reduced STI/HIV/AIDS
  • Reduced adolescent pregnancy/childbearing
  • Reduced child marriage
  • Reduced school-related gender-based violence (SRGBV)
  • Reduced violence against children in the home

Additional Information Back to Top

Primary Contact

Rayana Fazli
Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN)