Economic Empowerment

Adolescent Girl Life Skill:  Financial literacy and economic empowerment

General Adolescent Life Skills: Problem Solving and Identifying Alternative Solutions

We believe that sport programmes can be important factors in helping girls access pathways to economic empowerment. For us, this means girls:

  1. Stay in school or return after dropping out
  2. Access important informal education opportunities
  3. Learn and develop employability skills

Because a girl is not considered to be a wage-earning part of a family economy, she is given responsibility for caretaking, cooking, childbearing, and collecting wood and water. Financially, a girl’s value is often perceived as limited to the dowry payment she generates or, in desperate situations, the collateral she can earn to pay back debts. Because of this, girls often lack simple financial literacy, such as counting money or making a budget, and are ill equipped to handle money, take out micro credit or start their own small business if opportunities arise.

However, if a girl can learn these valuable financial and economic skills and, furthermore, can generate prosperity for herself and her household by earning money, she can change perceptions about her worth. A sport programme that teaches a girl simple financial literacy, connects her to vocational training, gives her access to micro loans and female lending groups, and contributes overall to her economic empowerment, can dramatically increase her self-worth, as well as her value within her family and community. The ability for a girl to earn an income within the context of her sport programme can be one strategy for organisations to increase a girl’s economic independence, however, it is more important for participants to gain skills that they can take outside of the programme, finish school and find employment.  (See International Guide to Economic Empowerment Through Sport for more information.)  

Personal Profile: Saru B.K., Nepal

In Nepal, regard, respect and access to financial resources is largely determined by caste and gender. Saru was born with all odds against her. For the past seven years, she has worked her way up the ladder at Three Sisters Trekking – a women-only trekking outfitter in the Himalaya Mountains. She has had an opportunity to earn money for herself and her family. Beyond being able to financially sustain her own life, she pays school fees for her younger siblings and contributes to her family’s basic needs. Her sense of economic empowerment and her practical ability to earn money are direct results of her participation in a sport for development programme. 

 

Practical Examples

Stay in school or return after dropping out

  • Soccer without Borders provides its girl participants in the Nicaragua programme with writing tablets, as most girls in the community drop out of school because they cannot afford notebooks or paper.

Access important informal education opportunities

  • Kick4Life, a football for development organisation working in Lesotho, trains participants in agriculture and tourism as well as general employability skills and job access through its Fit4Work programme. The organisation also started ReCYCLE, a programme that allows street children to earn money for school fees and books by collecting recyclable waste from subscribing customers.

Learn and develop employability skills

  • A Ganar (Vencer in Brazil) is a youth workforce development program that utilises football and other team sports to help youth in Latin America, ages 16-24, find jobs, learn entrepreneurial skills or re-enter the formal education system. Through A Ganar, participants gain the valuable skills of discipline, teamwork and respect as well as learn employability skills such as resume writing, computer literacy, job interview skills. Youth who finish the programme are given internship opportunities and mentored.
  • Moving the Goalposts, a girls’ football programme in Kilifi, Kenya, runs its large program through girls’ practicing leadership and learning organisational skills. Girls both in and out of school make up “field committees.” These field committees are responsible for all teams using their field, organising the practice time, maintaining attendance records and coordinating with other groups who use the field (usually a school or community field). They also organise the league and Saturday matches, organise referees, and make sure that first aid and peer counsellors (trained players) are always on-site during practices and games. At Moving the Goalposts in Kilifi, Kenya, girls compete for small financial prizes at tournaments and major events.

 

Facilitation Tips

  • Offer participants opportunities to earn money by providing services within the programme, such as coaching, officiating or washing uniforms.
  • Create opportunities for girls to learn and practice skills. Computer and office skills can be learned through volunteering in the office and doing practice, tournament and other administration.
  • Provide school scholarship support for girls who exhibit extraordinary leadership as part of the programme.
  • Teach girls simple math, reading and verbal skills.
  • Educate girls about how to manage and earn money or open a savings account.
  • Help girls develop marketable skills to secure jobs in the community.
  • Encourage girls to develop a sense of financial independence and confidence in their ability to earn money.
  • Train girls on the basics of organizing a project, events or tournaments, in which they gain valuable skills they could one day use towards starting and running their own small business.