We hope to be blogging regular stories of relevance to our work in West Africa.
It gives us the chance to comment on current news and developments that will be of interest to our followers and also give an insight into GIS ethos. Our first blog is an uplifting story concerning our inspirational Patron, Sam Jalloh.
Firstly, however, we have recently been exploring "What’s the point of GIS?"
Our Theory of Change (ToC)
We are often asked to explain our purpose or our 'raison d'etre' .
The question can be raised in formal settings but more often than not it will be in a social setting. Unless our listener is prepared for a lengthy presentation it is surprisingly difficult to encapsulate our ethos in a short conversation and, let’s be honest - proud as we are of our website it’s not good form to simply re-direct the query.
In that way. We’re selling ourselves so we we want to convince the questioner why they might want to support Girls in Sport when there are so many other charities and good causes to choose from. It’s something we have been devoting some thought to recently so what is our defining feature?
We are about enabling opportunities for girls for the better. We wish to achieve gender equality and the eradication of poverty. And, (as exhibited in UNSDG’s) we wish to bring about an end to the harms that hold back efforts to achieve these goals.
In essence, the Theory of Change is relatively simple -
By enabling community led initiatives that maximise literacy and school completion rates in communities where gender inequality is a marked barrier to sustainable development in the Global South through: -
Sport as an avenue to greater prospects for girls
(STEM: Science, English, Technology, Maths – traditionally male based subjects) as an avenue to greater prospects for girls
End harms associated with their gender
Get more girls to finish school
Provision of period kits
Soft power of GIS to shift negative gender roles and inspire leadership through wider initiatives such as women's funding circles that promote financial prudence and entrepreneurship
Nutrition – so that no girls goes hungry and can continue sport and learning
Protected Settings - all staff regularly receive mandatory safeguarding refreshers; in environments that present daily exposure to harms (often post-conflict or disaster, perpetual poverty climates etc)
psycho-socio support - many of our beneficiaries have been affected by harms associated by their gender. Our expert panel work to provide skills transfers to our teams in-country in order to facilitate trauma support or triage to qualified partners
Adult Literacy - Children of parents who are unable to read and write are less likely to be able to seize their potential. We provide adult literacy classes to communities as part of approach to holistic programming
Demographically, girls are at higher risk… So, the creation of ‘Girls in Sport’. We recognise the need for advancement of macro solutions, such as better governmental policy, eradication of corruption, effective law and order, improved social welfare frameworks etc. Girls in Sport is a very niche initiative that works as part of a wider trend in fostering social sustainability, and that focus on movements such as the ‘Girl Child’, and the rise of women’s sport. We are a small, but highly effective and relevant cog in the wheel.
Hopefully, by this point your dinner party guests will be totally enthralled. Don’t forget one final point however that distinguishes GIS from most other NGO’s working in impoverished regions of the world. . For good reason,there is a general distrust towards NGO’s, where ‘humanitarians’ are parachuted in by a donor government or institution as part of an overseas development initiative and doubts are raised whether western staff, although well-meaning, have sufficient understanding of local culture to gain the trust of the local community. We are probably only accepted so well by the community due to our soft approach, an emphasis on community control, local decision making, local staff, and local knowledge transfers. That said, back to Mr Jalloh …..