Using authentic insight to deliver effective support to displaced women and girls.
Oxfam partnered with Girl Effect who established a network of 15 TEGAs – Technology Enabled Girl Ambassadors – to monitor and evaluate their programming. The findings have greatly influenced Oxfam’s humanitarian activity in Maiduguri and been shared and adopted by the entire humanitarian sector in the region.
In 2016, displaced women and girls in Borno State, Boko Haram’s heartland, were in desperate need of food and livelihoods assistance having fled violence in their home villages and often faced abuse and extreme poverty in camps and host communities. Oxfam was providing humanitarian support in the region, but was struggling to understand the needs of these women and girls using traditional research methods.
In particular, it was becoming harder and harder to find and reach displaced women and girls, as they were increasingly being integrated into existing communities or returning home. Furthermore, Oxfam was unable to gauge the extent of gender based violence in host communities because women and girls rarely opened up about it during research Oxfam had carried out.
Girl Effect established a network of fifteen TEGAs to survey girls and women, both internally displaced and residents in host communities, on how they experienced daily life and interacted with agencies providing humanitarian support. The research explored health, education, livelihoods, safety and gender based violence. TEGAs interviewed over 400 women and girls across three waves of research.
This longitudinal approach to monitoring and evaluation meant TEGAs could build trust with the women and girls they interviewed, leading to richer and more authentic findings. It also allowed us to be iterative and agile; we adapted the research questions based on findings from each wave of research, so we were able to explore emerging themes and answer new questions posed by unexpected findings.
TEGA revealed that the majority of households were polygamous, and as a result, distributing food to the man of the household wasn’t sufficient. Food is now distributed to the wives of the household, creating more adequate food access.