This Guide is a collaboratively-authored tool that is designed to assist organisations in improving sport programmes for girls through the addition of quality sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) information and practices.
SRHR becomes particularly important for girls when they enter adolescence; which is the period that occurs after childhood and before adulthood. It is a time of many important physical, mental and emotional changes. Adolescence is often the phase when a girl transitions into a sexually active woman which is an intensely personal experience. Yet, the process also involves a change in how she is viewed externally by boys, men and society as a whole. This can be a positive and exciting part of a girl’s life, or an incredibly painful and damaging one. In either case, it is always a pivotal time in the life of a young woman. During this sensitive time, a girl needs education and support. She needs to build self-esteem and make decisions based on facts, not based on myths, pressures or social opinion.
Women Win believes that a well-designed sport programme can help adolescent girls understand their reproductive health, make positive decisions regarding their sexual behaviours and achieve their SRHR. An educated coach or facilitator, operating in a safe, inclusive space can address their questions and concerns as they arise. This support provides a girl with the information and tools she needs to make informed decisions about her body and her health, as well as about the expectations placed on her by social and cultural norms. Additionally, the sporting experience can give adolescent girls* an opportunity to practice fundamental life skills, such as communication and decision making that are critical in achieving SRHR.
*Note: In this Guide, we use the term “adolescent girls” for clarity and simplicity. In this group, we include girls and young women who are preparing for and experiencing sexual maturation, who range in age typically from 10-19 years old.