Empowering Adolescent Girls

Women Win considers SRHR as one of the three key thematic focus areas of our work. We approach SRHR in a wider development context, one in which the empowerment of adolescent girls is of critical importance so that they can exercise their SRHR. Adolescent girls need access to improved SRHR information and services to be able to participate in the social development and economic life of their countries, as well as for improved quality of life.

A well-designed sport programme is an effective platform for learning and building skills, increasing knowledge around adolescent girls' rights, improving health and fitness, and ultimately yielding positive behaviours and SRHR outcomes.

An emerging body of research suggests that asset-building programmes can result in long-term gains for girls and women345. Women Win brings an asset-building approach to the field by supporting and strengthening women’s rights and sport-for-development organisations to deliver conceptually sound and culturally relevant sport programmes to adolescent girls. Our theory of change is built on the belief that adolescent girls, their families and societies benefit from and are empowered by sport and sport programmes that:

1. Build assets
• Social assets: social networks, positive peer groups, female role models, group affiliation and membership.
• Human assets: physical strength and fitness, mental and emotional health, self-confidence, information and knowledge around gender-based violence, sexual and reproductive health and rights, economic empowerment, and life skills.6
• Sport skills as assets: mastering a set of sport skills requires discipline and concentration and builds a sense of competence.

2. Provide access to resources, including
• Institutional and community resources: Playing fields, health centres and services, financial institutions, or community development organisations. Well-designed sport programmes can help link girls and women to health, education, and other critical sectors and programmes. This is a crucial component of women’s empowerment, yet remains a challenge for many. Women Win endeavours to link sport with other resources when and where possible.
• Safe spaces and enabling environments: The creation of safe, female-friendly public spaces where girls can gather to learn new skills, form friendships, expand their social networks, and receive mentoring in a supportive environment is an important strategy in overcoming the social isolation that many girls face. A safe and supportive environment is a contributory factor in motivating young people to make healthy choices.

3. Develop agency
• Agency: Encouraging girls to act in their own interests.7
• Sport is an ideal place to teach teamwork and goal-setting, and to develop (and practice) leadership skills.
• Support and space: to develop individual potential and consider pathways for growth.