SPRING was an accelerator that worked with businesses in East Africa and South Asia to foster adolescent girls' socio-economic empowerment, market inclusion and increase their wellbeing through private sector solutions.


The SPRING accelerator ran from July 2014 to September 2019. During the 5 years of its duration, SPRING has supported 75 businesses in reaching 2,535,214 adolescent girls in 9 countries across East Africa (Ethiopia, Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda) and South Asia (Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nepal and Myanmar).

SPRING was funded by the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO), the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), with full support from the Nike Foundation in the first 4 years, and advisory support from Girl Effect in the design phase.


SPRING set out to reach 200,000 girls by 2019. By its end date, the accelerator had outperformed its objective, reaching over 2 million girls. SPRING operated in nine-month blocks with cohorts of up to 20 enterprises. Our first cohort included businesses from Rwanda, Uganda and Kenya and ended in March 2016.Our second cohort, launched in September 2016, focused on Bangladesh, Nepal and Pakistan. Our third cohort, launched in March 2017, returned to Rwanda, Uganda and Kenya, adding Tanzania and Ethiopia. In 2018, our fourth cohort returned to South Asia in March 2018. It included businesses from Bangladesh, Nepal and Pakistan and added Myanmar.


SPRING aimed to transform lives of adolescent girls by creating sustainable markets for life-enhancing products and services. These products and services have helped girls stay safe, learn, earn, and save without harm. SPRING Accelerator identified both businesses and not-for-profit enterprises with products and services that could improve the lives of girls, and provided expertise in business growth, investment readiness, human-centred design, innovation, and marketing to help drive their businesses further. Successful businesses and the investment they stimulate will lead to a broader shift in markets that enable girls and their communities to end the cycle of poverty.

Katsina, Nigeria- Amina Jazuli at her home in Katsina, Nigeria on Wednesday, August 29, 2012.
(Jane Hahn)


When girls have the freedom to learn, earn, and save without harm, their health and wellbeing increases, they become empowered to make their own decisions and take control of their own lives.

Investing in girls is the right thing to do, and the smart thing to do. When girls have opportunities, whole families become stronger both economically and socially, student numbers increase, agricultural productivity goes up, while rates of child marriage, teen pregnancy, and HIV/AIDS go down.

Products and services are rarely designed for, marketed to, or distributed to the majority of the world’s adolescent girls — they are an underserved market.
Girls at Fightback Nepal training
Girls at Fightback Nepal training
Girls have enormous potential. Well-designed products or services can give a girl the space and security she needs to learn, the time she needs to work, and the ability to launch a business of her own.