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Adolescent psychosocial well-being and voice and agency in Ethiopia

Research report

Written by Nicola Jones

Hero image description: School parliament in Dire Dawa Image credit:Nathalie Bertrams/GAGE 2019

The policy note and report on adolescent psychosocial well-being and voice and agency in Ethiopia is one of a series of short reports presenting findings from baseline mixed-methods research as part of the Gender and Adolescence: Global Evidence (GAGE) longitudinal study (2015–2024). 

In Ethiopia, our research sample involves a survey with more than 6,800 adolescent girls and boys from two cohorts aged 10–12 years (younger adolescents) and 15–17 years (older adolescents), and more in-depth qualitative research with 240 adolescents and their families. The baseline data was collected in selected sites in Afar, Amhara and Oromia regional states and Dire Dawa city administration during 2017 and 2018.

We focus on: adolescents’ resilience and emotional efficacy; their voice and decision-making opportunities within the family; their mobility; their access to peer networks and safe spaces; their access to age-appropriate information and digital technology; their access to inspirational role models; and opportunities for civic engagement.

GAGE research found that improvements in adolescents’ access to voice and agency and psychosocial well-being are largely, though not exclusively, mediated through their greater access to formal education, which exposes them to new ideas (including their rights), offers them time to socialise with their friends, and provides opportunities to participate in clubs about topics that interest them.

Nicola Jones, Sarah Baird, Joan Hicks, Megan Devonald, Eric Neumeister, Elizabeth Presler-Marshall, Workneh Yadete and Meti Kebede