SEED Girls Program Launches To Support Adolescent Girls in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq

Adolescence is the developmental stage between childhood and adulthood, during which girls experience significant physical, intellectual, and emotional changes. These natural changes can often increase their stress and anxiety, compounded by pressure from social norms and more household responsibility. This dynamic can leave many girls, especially those in displacement and conflict-affected spaces, feeling emotionally overwhelmed and vulnerable to behaviors with harmful outcomes. Healthy adolescent development, however, is possible for all girls in Kurdistan, including those living in displacement.

In partnership with the SPW program of the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), SEED launched the SEED Girls Program in June 2021 to provide 260 adolescent girls, ages 12 to 17, from displaced and host communities in Kurdistan, a continuum of care to address their emotional, intellectual, and health development needs. This innovative and unique program will work with the participating girls through a range of safe and dignity-affirming virtual and in-person activities, including workshops, training, awareness-raising, and engaging parents through psychosocial support activities and plenary workshops.

“This program will support these girls to lead healthy lives, take care of and protect themselves, build strong and healthy relations with their families and communities, make smart life choices, and will ensure that these girls have the skills, knowledge, and support to be safe, and reduce their risk of experiencing violence,” said Sherri Kraham Talabany, SEED President and Executive Director.

SEED Girls aims to work with adolescent girls in the KRI to respond to a deep gap in programming services to meet their extensive needs and address their vulnerabilities, in light of the high risk of gender-based violence, child marriage, limited access to sexual and reproductive health services, and impediments to quality and continuing education.

Additionally, the program aims to inspire and support adolescent girls to build supportive networks with their peers, value and prioritize their education, strengthen their critical thinking skills, and believe in their potential to improve their lives, communities, and the world.

SEED also works with the girls’ parents, as SEED believes when adolescent girls are supported and encouraged by caring and understanding adults, they thrive in unimaginable ways, becoming resourceful and contributing members of their families and communities.