The Building Assets Toolkit

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Assets are important to helping girls achieve healthy and productive futures.

An asset-building exercise is a thoughtful way to building intentional program content, involving multiple stakeholders, but most importantly your clients, the girls, in determining what assets they need in order to survive and thrive. This is particularly important for programs intended to reach the poorest girls in the poorest communities based on sound evidence on the reality of their lives.

The Council’s Building Assets Toolkit is rooted in this exercise, helping practitioners, policymakers, and advocates build tailored, meaningful, and positive content to support specific subpopulations of girls. The Toolkit guides practitioners through a series of steps to define common-sense targets – what information, skill or physical asset (such as an ID card) should a girl in a particular setting have by a particular age.

Building a girl’s asset profile is a process of envisioning what success looks like at different ages and in different places. Framed by local conditions and data, it is a strength-based approach that builds upon girls’ existing capabilities.

In high demand since its original publication in English, the toolkit is constantly being added to as it is translated into many languages and adapted into various cultural contexts. The Council is committed to the toolkit being a “first draft,” perfected by our partners in the field.

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As mentioned, the Toolkit is a tool intended for testing, adaptation, and expansion. As a result, we include here some of those very expansions.

The Adolescent Girl and Creativity Network (AGCN), a working group comprised of partners implementing arts in low- and middle-income countries as tools for engagement, transformation and wellness, collaborated on the possibilities of an asset-building approach taking hold in their own work. The result of this work is the Creative Assets and Program Content Guide: To Build Social and Emotional Learning and Promote Trauma Mitigation and Healing. The guide pairs thirteen new assets with fifty complementary creative program activities to nurture and protect girls’ psychosocial wellbeing in humanitarian and development contexts. Each activity is highly adaptable and oriented to low-resource settings, covering a breadth of types of creativity including movement, visual, language, drama/storytelling, and more.

The second supplemental set of asset cards examine the potential of technology, particularly green tech, to be both productive and protective to girls who face unique risks. The cards and accompanying guidance aim at triggering smart thinking around the dimensions of technology can be just as much hindering as it can be fruitful in girls’ lives such as power, access, cost, maintenance, function, etc. By fomenting early discussion among girls about technology’s relevance in their lives, it can assist practitioners’ in making timely integration of green and other technologies into their program activities.
The Women’s Refugee Commission (WRC) and the Community of Practice collaborated to document how humanitarian practitioners have used the Asset Exercise to-date and to refine the toolkit for future use in emergency settings. The adapted Asset Exercise includes 70 assets, grouped into a core set of assets that are essential for all contexts, and two categories of optional assets; and by domain, such as social, health, and civic participation. The findings, documented in a brief and the adapted toolkit offer insights and guidance relevant to development and humanitarian contexts alike.

Our colleagues at the Indigenous Adolescent Girls’ Empowerment Network (IMAGEN) have contextualized the Asset Exercise and toolkit to indigenous American populations. It’s Resilience Cards Game is designed for program leaders who are planning to work with adolescent indigenous girls. The content on each card comes directly from the suggestions of Native female relatives, who represent the experiences of girls from several different Native communities across the country. They identified valuable skills, practices, and knowledge that would serve our younger sisters in better navigating the unique obstacles facing indigenous girls in the U.S. The cards are intended to be used in the context of an skill-building exercise, which is an important step in building meaningful program content tailored to the needs of the girls in the community with which you will be working. You can find that resource below.