Operating within the legal mandates of a region, including that region’s city, provincial, and national laws, is a simple and non-negotiable necessity for establishing your programme. Failure to do so, especially in corrupt government environments, can jeopardize your success and the safety of the girl participants. Position your organisation as a leader in girls and sport development and show government leaders and ministries that you are an asset that could help them develop their policies or reach more children.
- Government officials who refuse use of public sport spaces
- Government officials who do not uphold the law and refuse to report instances of violence against girls
- Officials who expect bribes from organisations who want to work in their community
- Gender bias in government decision-making and actions
- Long bureaucratic procedures that affect timelines of project set up or implementation
Incentives or Motivations for Engagement
- Recognition for supporting positive social project for girls
- Being asked to be a representative of the organisation or a guest speaker
- If the programme has positive community impact, then by being associated, the official is building community support.
Strategies for Engagement
- Meet with all local government officials before the start of the programme, informing them about the programme, and ask for their help/advice.
- Find spaces to play that are not controlled by the government.
- Formally invite (in writing) government officials for all events and invite them to speak.
- Understand laws and abide by them. When required, register your organisation.
- Write letters to government officials to inform them of your programme details, intentions, and membership.
- Follow protocol regarding soliciting support.
- Sometimes this means approaching lower-ranking government officials first, who then will make introductions to higher-ranking officials.
- Invite police to monitor major events.
- Thank them publicly for their support.
- Many governments have a ministry or department in charge of promoting sport and games.
- Be sure to discuss your programme with this ministry and discuss how you can work together to promote common goals.
- Consider applying for government funding when available.
- If police or government officials begin to expect financial compensation for their support, be strategic about engaging them less frequently or in front of other community partners who would frown upon such demands.
- Be aware of the policies and government position on issues and use this as leverage to claim support from government.
- Gain allies by interacting with government officials informally as well to get insights of procedures and how to navigate the political dynamics.
How It Works
Gregoria Apaza, an organisation that addresses gender-based violence amongst indigenous girls and women of El Alto, holds rallies promoting different women’s rights laws or legislation in La Paz. Two hundred people turned up at a rally. Gregoria Apaza was also able to mobilise the police and military. They marched in defence of women’s rights alongside other men and women.
Caption: Police wearing bibs with women's rights slogans during march in El Alto, Bolivia.
Kembatta Mentti Gezzima approached and engaged the Women and Youth Affairs officer in their community and included the officer in official community conversations and events planning. This has led to support from the government office, and the Women and Youth Affairs officer helps to facilitate the programme by providing resources and logistical support, as well as building approval in local government.
NOWSPAR (National Organisation for Women, Sport, Physical Activity and Recreation) partners with the national governing bodies of sport in Zambia to promote girls’ and women’s participation in sport throughout the country. Through this partnership they have access to professional athletes who can help them build support, as well as government officials whose support is essential to the sustainability of their programme. In addition, the Ministry of Education offered NOWSPAR free office space in its building in Lusaka.
A staff member of Youth Empowerment Foundation recently attended one of Women Win’s Digital Storytelling trainings, where she produced a short video about sport and girls. She will use this to gain essential support from local government officials who need to give their approval in order for the programme to continue. She plans to invite officials to a meeting where she will show the stories and the officials will hear what a positive impact the programme has had from the girls themselves.