Social and Financial Empowerment of Adolescents (SoFEA) is an initiative by BRAC focusing on adolescent girls in rural Bangladesh. The goal is to empower adolescent girls, aged 11-21, both socially and financially in order to make them more confident and independent so that they can lead dignified lives.
The SoFEA programme comprises the following components:
- A secure place for adolescent girls to socialise
- Life-skills training
- Livelihood training
- Financial literacy
- Savings and credit facilities
- Community sensitisation
SoFEA strategies include:
a. Club: SoFEA has established clubs to serve as a safe space for girls to socialise, read from a small library, or play board games. The clubs are open six days a week with one mandatory day for attendance. By providing such a forum, SoFEA hopes to increase girls’ social networks as well as their mobility.
b. Life skills training: The goal of this component is to raise awareness among adolescent girls about issues that are important in their lives. This is a peer-to-peer learning course. After training, the peer leaders facilitate the course in the clubs. Topics include human rights, importance of education, adolescence, menstruation, early marriage, early pregnancy, family planning, prenatal care, child nutrition and development, sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and HIV/AIDS, dowry, domestic violence, trafficking, and acid violence.
c. Financial Literacy: The financial literacy training, developed within SoFEA from the beginning of 2010, is to familiarise girls with the basics of the following topics:
- Dream realisation
- Need for financial empowerment
- Savings - sources, safe spaces, and importance
- Budgeting - cost-profit calculation
- Borrowing and social negotiations
To garner support from their families and the community, the programme "engages in community sensitisation to ensure that, even after BRAC leaves, these girls will continue enjoying their rights, as well as receive the attention and support that they deserve from their family and community."
Youth, Gender, Economic Development, Women
SoFEA has established 360 clubs, reaching, in 2010, over 13,000 girls in five sub-districts in rural Bangladesh. 360 peer leaders have been trained to teach life skills.
See related summary: Farzana Kashfi on BRAC's SoFEA
BRAC website, November 26 2013. Image credit: Christy Turlington Burns