Photo: The Girl Hub
By Graham Ward Chief Commissioner of the Independent Commission for Aid Impact (ICAI)
The Girl Hub was established by the Department for International Development (DFID) and the Nike Foundation to help decision-makers and donors do more to address the needs and rights of adolescent girls. On 22 March this year we published a review examining how effectively and efficiently the Girl Hub partnership is delivering impact and whether it should be used as a model for future partnerships. We gave Girl Hub an overall rating of amber-red - meaning that it is not performing well and that significant improvements should be made.
Girl Hub has been operating for two years and has so far spent £2.9 million of its £15.6 million budget. It aims to be a catalyst to empower girls and influence donors and governments. It intends to combine DFID’s development expertise and global reach with Nike Foundation’s experience working in the field of adolescent girls, its communications skills and its approach to business planning and innovation.
Girl Hub is widely seen as playing a useful role in getting adolescent girls more firmly onto the development agenda. We found that Girl Hub has had some positive impacts, particularly on DFID’s strategy and programming. Our report shows, however, that Girl Hub’s measureable impact on girls to date is limited and that there have been shortcomings in planning and governance. Our report makes some key recommendations for DFID:
ICAI’s role is to focus on maximising the effectiveness of UK aid for intended beneficiaries and on delivering value for money for the UK taxpayer. This does not mean, however, that we expect all programmes to be perfect. We recognise that some aid is risky and some is innovative and we welcome that. The idea of Girl Hub is ambitious. It aims to bring new ways of thinking into DFID and the wider development community. We found, however, shortcomings in Girl Hub’s governance and plans to translate its vision into tangible outcomes for adolescent girls. Girl Hub has begun to address some of these issues. We recognise the innovative nature of this partnership but conclude that it is a good time for DFID to re-evaluate whether and, if so, how this model should be continued and made sustainable.
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