In each country we visited, we worked with partner organizations to meet and interview as many different girls as possible. We looked for a variety of ages and circumstances across wide-ranging environments. After returning home, we went through the difficult process of choosing a small group of favorites. We prepared profiles of each of those candidates for our writers. The profiles included pictures, video of interviews, and written notes. We then asked each writer to choose the girl whose story she felt most compelled to tell.

We always believed that the final choice should be left to the writers. First, each writer needed to feel a connection to the girl she was writing about. Second, we knew the writers would see different things than we did because they spoke the same language and shared a cultural background. And, honestly, once we’d met so many extraordinary girls in person, it was just too hard to choose. The writers were able to make their choices at a slight distance, which we hope made it a bit easier.