The study is a randomized controlled trial of COMPASS, an intervention for adolescent girls
in Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. The study design will employ a two-arm randomized
controlled trial where girls will be enrolled at the same time and randomized to receive a
basic package of services, which includes life skills education and access to mentors in safe
spaces, or the basic package plus a structured parenting intervention for girls' caregivers.
An experimental design will be used to evaluate the relative impact of the parenting
initiative in addition to the safe space program for girls. In addition, qualitative research
will address additional questions of acceptability, processes of change and best practice.
Groups in North and South Kivu will be randomized so that every group is randomly designated
as a group that will either roll out the core intervention or the intervention plus caregiver
component. Groups that do not receive the parental intervention during the study will receive
the intervention when the study is complete to reduce communal jealousies.
The intervention, the COMPASS program, will involve a structured intervention for girls
between the ages of 10-14 that is intended to engage adolescent girls, those who are
influential in their lives, service providers and other stakeholders, with the ultimate goal
of co-creating environments in which girls are valued and safe. The program is centered on
establishing or supporting community-supported safe spaces for girls where they can come and
gather among themselves and participate in a structured life-skills curriculum. In addition
to the safe spaces for girls, the COMPASS project will also implement structured activities
for the parents and caregivers of participants.
The study will examine the relative impact of the parenting initiative in addition to the
program for adolescent girls. The study will seek to determine whether the structured
intervention with girls' parents has an added impact on outcomes improve girls' safety and
well-being. Research will focus on unpacking the components of the program in order to
determine which components or combination of components have the most impact. This research
will include a mix of qualitative and quantitative approaches to establish a foundation for
good programming that supports adolescent girls' safe and healthy transition into adulthood.
The study assessment will employ a mixed methods approach with most data collection occurring
at pre-test/baseline and post-intervention, although a qualitative assessment will also be
performed at the intervention midpoint as a process indicator. Quantitative survey methods
will be used to evaluate attitudes towards a host of topics related to physical and financial
assets and health-related behaviors. Survey questions will be administered using Audio
Computer Assisted Self-Interviewing (ACASI) and Computer-Assisted Personal Interviewing
(CAPI). Quantitative methods will be used to yield statistical measures of the scale of
changes in attitudes, skills, and behaviors due to the intervention.
Qualitative methods will include in-depth semi-structured interviews and focus group
discussions with girls, their family members and mentors, as well as participatory methods
with girls to assess topics such as self-esteem, empowerment, and resilience.
- aged 10-14
- give informed consent
- cognitive impairment