Growing Up GREAT!: The Way Forward / « Bien Grandir : La Voie à Suivre ! »

Growing Up GREAT! (GUG) is a multi-level intervention in urban Kinshasa, DRC for very young adolescents (VYAs – ages 10-14 years). GUG also involves VYAs’ parents and caregivers and other influential community members to address spheres of influence—individual, family, school, community—that most affect early adolescent life experiences. This ecological program approach provides information and addresses social and gender norms related to reproductive health and wellbeing at each of these levels, with the goal of improving sexual and reproductive health outcomes among in-school and out-of-school VYAs (10-14 years).

Growing Up GREAT! started under the larger seven-year (2015-2022) Passages Project, a USAID-funded initiative to address the root challenges of family planning and reproductive health – such as gender-based violence, child marriage, and unintended pregnancy – by transforming social norms. Growing Up GREAT! also received funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (2018-2023) to establish a consortium of implementers, researchers, scale-up experts, and implementation scientists to generate evidence on the value of investing in interventions with early adolescents in order to foster effective contraceptive use as they enter older adolescence and young adulthood.

The GUG consortium has three intermediate outcomes: 1) Build understanding of how gender attitudes, behaviors, and norms are formed and transformed among very young adolescents, and their medium-term life course trajectories; 2) Institutionalize the GUG intervention within the Ministry of Education and community-based partners in Kinshasa; and 3) Generate knowledge on how to sustain and scale gender and sexual and reproductive health interventions for early adolescents, including the feasibility and acceptability of engaging parents. Progress towards these outcomes occurs through coordinated program implementation, implementation science research studies, outcome evaluation studies, and continuous stakeholder feedback and engagement.


Growing Up GREAT! at the International Social and Behavior Change Communication Summit 2022 (Read our blog!)

Join us on November 29th for an engaging webinar on A Framework for Understanding What Works to Shift Gender Norms and Attitudes for Very Young Adolescents. Register here!

Growing Up GREAT! at the International Conference on Family Planning 2022 (English, French)


Growing Up GREAT! Implementation Guide (English, French)

Project Overview Resources
Institutionalization and Scale-Up Resources
  • GUG! Scale-Up Plan (English, French)

  • GUG! Scale-Up Assessment Report: (English, French)

  • Integrating Family Life Education into Distance Learning during COVID-19 Closures (English, French)

  • Sustainability of GUG! Institutionalization in the Ministries of Health and Education: A Rapid Qualitative Learning Study (French)

  • Learning and Adapting: Using Responsive Feedback to Increase Growing Up GREAT!’s Effectiveness and Scalability (English, French)

  • Policy Recommendations for Institutionalization and Project Transition to DRC Ministry Partners (English, French)
Outcome Evaluation Resources


The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation


Agency for All
Project Director
Kathryn Barker, SCD, MPH
Growing Up GREAT!
Assistant Professor
Infectious Diseases & Global Public Health


 Sarah Smith, MPH
Research Program Manager

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