The Naz Foundation (India) reports that when they initiate a sport for development programme in a new community, there is very little community engagement in the beginning. Naz really begins engaging the community once the programme is running, through events and festivals as well as the monitoring and evaluation of the programme.
On the other hand, Magic Bus (India) takes a different approach and involves the community heavily at the planning stage of their programmes. They ask the community to nominate young volunteer coaches, which builds support and community ownership from the very beginning.
The input of community members is essential when developing a girls’ sport programme. Practitioners of girls’ sport programmes who wish to enter a community and put a programme in place must have a thorough understanding of the needs of and complexities for girls in that community. The best way to be informed about those needs is by talking to and learning from the community members themselves; this means the girls, and also their families, teachers, and everyone else who has an impact on their daily lives. This process of learning from a community is not a single event; it is a constant interaction that will continue throughout the life of a programme. This process of ‘co-generation of knowledge’ between development practitioners and the communities in which they work is known as Action Learning and has been a growing practice in the development industry since the inception of Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA) in the late 1980s. Action Learning is a process that means that a programme or practice is continuously learnt from and improved upon.
Degrees of support vary across stakeholder groups over time, and community engagement is not fixed, but is fluid and changes. Many organisations agree that community engagement has changed throughout the life of their programmes.
Although community engagement should be a strategy throughout the life of your girls’ sport programme, it is important to keep in mind that by carrying out a programme in many places means changing perceptions about what girls’ roles are in that community. Although this guide illustrates that a promising practice is to include the community in decisions and the process of implementing a girls’ sport programme, it also cautions that participation in the development process can be difficult to balance when trying to challenge existing social norms.
 Chambers, R. 2012. “Sharing and Co-Generating Knowledges: Reflections on Experiences with PRA and CLTS”. IDS Bulletin. 43:3, pp. 71-87.