The Girl Roster

A tool to strengthen girl-centered programming

The Population Council developed the Girl Roster™, a practical tool designed to help practitioners understand their community and elicit foundational information to intentionally link girls – especially the most marginalized adolescent girls’—to the vital resources, facilities, and services to which they are entitled but often have limited or no access.

Ready to get started?

Please access our Expression of Interest form for all our capacity strengthening supports. We will be in touch.

Girls—especially the most socially and economically marginalized—are often cited as key beneficiaries of health and development initiatives. However, unless they are subject to specific, intentional recruitment efforts, they are likely to receive a disproportionately low, even negligible, share of the benefits. Good intentions aside, some “youth”, “adolescent”, or “girls’” programs do not apply targeted, evidence-based practices and therefore reach fewer girls than they intended or could. Some programs, whether intentional or not, end up directing the majority of benefits to those who are better off and not to those most in need.

The Girl Roster was developed by the Population Council, in close collaboration with the Women’s Refugee Commission and other operational organizations of the Girls in Emergencies Collaborative. The tool is a user-friendly, efficient, and cost-effective way to collect program-relevant information about girls in the community using a mobile phone-based questionnaire (and where resources do not permit, paper and pencil). It enables its users to see a fuller view of girls’ lived realities in defined program areas, comprised of easily walkable or travelable communities. Within those boundaries, the identified girls are sorted into meaningful segments by age; school-going; marital, and childbearing status; and living-arrangements (living with two, one, or neither parents/guardian). The process of implementing the tool, as well as the information collected itself, helps local practitioners, with additional community dialogue and engagement, design prototype or modify existent programs serving different segments of girls.

Available Languages of the Tool

The information allows practitioners to assess the degree to which populations are “on” or “off-track,” according to locally affirmed commitments and laws around education, marriage, and childbearing, and provides insights into living arrangements with parents and the girls’ access to resources. Because the questions do not collect personal information and are not directed at the girls themselves, but rather to the female heads of household, the tool helps build stronger connections between practitioner and community members, without sacrificing girls’ safety or privacy. The results are quickly generated into tables that display the information in a variety of output tables designed for practitioners to make assessments of when and to what degree segments of girls are at-risk.

The Girl Roster has been utilized by approximately 100 organizations in more than 40 countries and translated into more than 20 languages. See above for a full list of countries and languages. It has been used by large, multilateral and bilateral organizations, governments, small community-based organizations, and national networks. Humanitarian partners, including the Women’s Refugee Commission (as part of its I’m Here Approach), have led field adaptations and translations of the Roster specifically in emergency settings, such as in Lebanon, South Sudan, and Iraq. These field experiences have continued to inform the tool’s evolution.

Countries of Girl Roster Implementation

With interactive technical assistance from the Population Council and partners, insights from the Girl Roster’s implementation improves the effectiveness of practitioners on the ground and informs scalable plans that increase program coverage so that the most at-risk girls receive the health, social, economic, and cognitive assets they need at the right time to make a real and sustained difference.

Ready to get started? Here is what you need below.

The standard Girl Roster questionnaire is now available online and for download. In the first tab of this Excel file, you will find explicit directions on how to customize the questionnaire for your needs. Please follow these instructions very closely and contact us at if you have any questions.

The following technical guidance will instruct you in how to: set up all platforms for the Girl Roster including your phones/tablets, Kobo Toolbox where your blank Girl Roster questionnaire and completed data are stored, and how to generate Girl Roster results in output tables. Please follow these instructions carefully.

The following worksheets will guide you through analyzing your results after rostering is over, from how to read the output tables to how to translate them into selections of who to recruit, where to implement your program, and more.

Need more information? Email us at