On 20 June, World Refugee Day, Monash GPS is pleased to announce the release of a research report, in partnership with Plan International, Adolescent Girls in Crisis: Voices from Beirut.
The report explores the experiences of adolescent girls within two age brackets - 10-14 and 15-19 years - navigating the urban spaces of Beirut in order to access services and opportunities. The research was conducted with girls from both host (Lebanese) and refugee (including Syrian and Palestinian) communities.
This report is part of a wider project that seeks to generate research on the needs and capacities of adolescent girls in crisis. Previous cases included South Sudan, the Rohingya in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, and the Lake Chad Basin.
The Beirut report is based on a survey and group discussions with 400 girls aged 10 to 19 and their communities in three locales in and around Beirut.
A key finding from the research was that school attendance decreases dramatically when girls reach 14 years old – 80 per cent of 10-14-year olds regularly attend school, compared to just 39 per cent of 15-19 year olds. The importance of education was a common theme across all four case studies according to project lead and deputy director of Monash University’s Gender, Peace and Security Centre, Associate Professor Katrina Lee-Koo: “Education is the most significant protective and coping mechanism girls have against the other challenges in their lives. It is a protection against early marriage, violence, and creates opportunities for the future.”
Source: Twitter/Plan International (@PlanGlobal).
The research also found that more than half of girls surveyed said girls of their age face physical violence, sexual violence, sexual harassment and emotional or verbal abuse where they live, and the primary concern of girls across all three sites and nationality groups was gender-based violence, including sexual harassment. Some 69 per cent of girls said they felt unsafe travelling around the city alone during the day, while 87 per cent felt unsafe at night time.
The research seeks to amplify the voices and perceptions of adolescent girls, and presents their views on how the humanitarian sector might respond to the challenges they face. Associate Professor Lee-Koo highlights how adolescent girls are often overlooked due to their age and gender: “They’re different from women, they’re different from children, and they’re different from youths. Often, when we think about adolescent girls, they get lumped on women and girls and get overlooked. But they have unique needs and perspectives that we don’t hear or don’t consider a priority to fund.”