Creating an Enabling Environment for Adolescent Girls to Thrive During Puberty

Case Study

IDEO is one of the world’s leading design consultancy firms. We worked with, the non-profit sister organization of IDEO, to complement their human-centred design approach with relevant insights from behavioral and decision-making sciences. 


Puberty is tough anywhere. In Za’atari refugee camp, the day a girl gets her period can be an abrupt end to childhood: adults may restrict her mobility and socializing, shutting the door on opportunity and fueling school drop out, child marriage and early pregnancy. We worked with on a project with their partner MercyCorps Jordan to ensure adolescent girls living in refugee camps have the information and peer networks they need to thrive during puberty. 


In this project, our role was primarily to supplement’s human-centred design approach with principles from behavioral science. Our collective goal for this was to, by understanding the underlying attitudes, biases and assumptions that drive human behavior, strengthen and refine potential design opportunities for greater impact.

For example, in the design of the Puberty 101 session (these were information sessions aimed at the girls and their mothers to teach them about reproductive health) one major consideration, from our perspective, was to ensure that the right social opportunities were created for the girls to engage in the discussion around reproductive health—in practice, this meant having the mothers involved in the discussion, but also having older girls teach the younger girls, because they looked up and trusted them for information.

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