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

Cervical cancer kills more than 310,000 women every year globally - more deaths than during childbirth. 90% of deaths are in lower and middle-income countries. 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 a further 50% by 2030. 

Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance supports the poorest countries of the world to get access to affordable HPV vaccines. Since 2016, Girl Effect and Gavi have worked together on a game-changing $10 million 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 Rwanda, Ethiopia, Malawi, and Tanzania, 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. 

Want to know more about our impact?  View our impact website.

As we now have evidence of what works and how it can be used effectively by others, Girl Effect has launched a Girl Focus Toolkit to support ministries of health in countries where we do not operate to develop effective ‘girl-focused’ HPV vaccine communications.

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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
Girl effect logo with a burst background  Adolescent Girls and Health: Programme Mapping

The HPV vaccine has a vital role to play in preventing cervical cancer. We must act now to scale up cervical cancer prevention and control strategies and ensure girls everywhere know that they can benefit from its lifesaving impact.

Anuradha Gupta, Deputy CEO of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance

Addressing gender barriers to routine immunisation

In November 2019, Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, and Girl Effect, along 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 is uncovering 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.

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 in Rwanda here.

Working with girls for a better future

We can scale to new countries and go beyond HPV to drive understanding and uptake of routine vaccinations.

Our planned partnership will support Gavi's 2021-2025 strategy by addressing gender-based barriers to routine immunisation and promoting positive health-seeking behaviours. We need to invest now to protect the health of the next generation and support girls so that no one is left behind.


Are you interested in partnering with Girl Effect?

Please contact our team