Breaking down negative attitudes and behaviours that prevent girls accessing life-saving vaccines

Killing more than 260,000 women every year, cervical cancer is a major threat to girls in the developing world. HPV infection is the main cause of cervical cancer globally, and without large-scale interventions in both prevention and control, the number of deaths is forecast to rise to 416,000 by 2035. In 2016 Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, set a 2020 goal of vaccinating 14 million adolescent girls in a scaled rollout of the HPV vaccine. Innovative communication strategies that build demand for the HPV vaccine are essential to sustained immunisation success.
Since 2016, Girl Effect and Gavi have worked together on a game-changing $10m collaboration to leverage the power of brands to build girls’ demand for the HPV vaccine and encourage girls to use health services at critical times in their lives. The four-year partnership, focusing on in Rwanda, Ethiopia and Malawi, works to understand what girls already know about the HPV vaccine, then activates Girl Effect’s youth brands to increase girls’ knowledge and shift their attitudes towards the vaccine and other health services – engaging girls through our digital platforms, magazines, radio shows, music and more.
The partnership integrates robust monitoring and evaluation processes to not only measure the impact of our youth brands on supply-side uptake in Rwanda, Ethiopia and Malawi, but also how the power of a brand can drive positive health outcomes more broadly. The research will make the case for more holistic, girl-centred strategies to drive behaviour change and create new opportunities in delivering integrated adolescent health models.
In November 2019, Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance and Girl Effect, with the Government of Rwanda, took the success of our current partnership one step further and launched a new 13-month collaboration in Rwanda. The partnership will uncover persistent gender barriers to accessing health services and vaccination uptake while developing tailored communication strategies to ensure that no child is deprived of life-saving vaccines. Using Ni Nyampinga’s radio talk-shows, its Sakwe radio drama and magazine, digital platforms (interactive voice response technology, SMS and social media) and new digital innovations, the partnership will also facilitate more positive and open conversations around health.

For the last three years, we have partnered with Girl Effect to increase awareness about the benefits of HPV vaccination, enhance agency of young girls, empower communities to take the right decisions to promote good health and generate evidence on attitudes to immunisation. This new phase of our partnership will build on these initiatives, bring more intensive focus on gendered barriers to immunisation and ensure that no child is deprived of life-saving vaccines.

Anuradha Gupta, Deputy CEO of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance

The results of the vaccination programmes in Rwanda have been promising, which provides an opportunity to develop innovative steps and solutions to reach the last five percent known to be the hardest to reach. In close collaboration with the Government of Rwanda, Gavi and Girl Effect will test these new approaches and co-create youth engagement strategies with Rwanda’s Ministry of Health and Ministry of Youth. The partnership will seek to define a model for reducing gender barriers to immunisation that can ultimately be scaled up to change the lives of adolescent girls and young women in Rwanda and beyond.

Read more about our work with Gavi here.

Launching our partnership

See how Girl Effect and Gavi are joining forces to protect adolescent girls from cervical cancer

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