Women Win partners with U.S. Department of State to Empower Girls Through Sport


Women Win, sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA), is proud to be launching an international exchange program, aimed at empowering marginalized girls in Nepal and the United States through sport. With that goal in mind, the strategy of the program is based on a) building the leadership of individual sport for social change practitioners and b) providing partner organizations with the means to improve their capacity to address gender inclusion and girls’ rights through sport. The international exchange program is a part of SportsUnited, ECA’s Division devoted to sports diplomacy as a tool to increase dialogue and cultural understanding between people around the world. 

Maria Bobenrieth, Executive Director of Women Win said, “Adolescent girls around the world have incredible potential to drive change in their lives and their communities. Through sport, they can learn powerful lessons of resiliency, goal setting and confidence. However, girls are often the last ones invited to play - facing a multiple bias in access based on age, gender, and conservative cultural beliefs. By strengthening the capacity of leaders in organizations who are working with girls through sport every day, and sharing best practices between those organizations, we believe those girls will become better equipped to exercise their rights and develop their leadership.”

Carefully selected participants from U.S. based NGO Soccer Without Borders and Nepal based NGO Empowering Women of Nepal will spend time in each other’s countries, sharing experiences in using both team and outdoor sports, such as trekking, and cross pollinating promising practices for designing and delivering girls’ sport programs. The program will include a digital storytelling workshop and will yield a series of videos about participants’ sport experience, as well as 10 community change projects implemented in rural Nepal, during a time of great need in the country.

The first exchange will take place in Nepal, from March 4 – 12, and will include a trek through the Annapurna region, a football clinic for local school children organized by the local embassy, and visits to EWN’s sport and life skills program. Nepalese participants will travel to the U.S. from July 16 - 22 and will hike in Yosemite National Park, participate in a digital storytelling workshop and visit Soccer Without Borders' soccer program in Oakland, California. The cross-cultural experiences of the participants will be captured and shared online by Women Win.

Participants and organizers are available for interviews in the U.S. and Nepal by request. For more information on the program or for media enquiries please contact Tina Rogers, Women Win Communications Manager, at communications@womenwin.org.


Women Win is the global leader in girls’ empowerment through sport. We leverage the power of play to help girls build leadership and become better equipped to exercise their rights. Sport is only our tool. Our end game is helping girls thrive as they face the most pressing issues of adolescence, including accessing sexual and reproductive health and rights, addressing gender-based violence and achieving economic empowerment.

The Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs' (ECA) of the U.S. Department of State fosters mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries to promote friendly and peaceful relations. This mission is accomplished through academic, cultural, sports, and professional exchanges that engage youth, students, educators, artists, athletes, and rising leaders in the United States and more than 160 countries.  The SportsUnited division of ECA specifically uses the international language of sports as a tool to promote tolerance, understanding and the peaceful resolution/prevention of conflict; to increase awareness among young people of the importance of following a healthy lifestyle and physical fitness in order to prevent illness, substance abuse, and negative behaviors; and to improve the quality of life for persons with disabilities by providing inclusive sports opportunities that contribute to the physical and psychological health of people at all ages who experience disabilities.

Soccer Without Borders mission is to use soccer as a vehicle for positive change, providing under-served youth with a toolkit to overcome obstacles to growth, inclusion, and personal success. Soccer Without Borders USA specifically focuses on working with refugee, asylee and immigrant youth in four cities throughout the U.S.

Empowering Women of Nepal (EWN) aims to improve the lives of Nepali women and girls through adventure tourism. By offering education and skills training in adventure guiding and trekking, a male-dominated field in Nepal, EWN seeks to encourage the development of self-supporting, independent and decisive women. In partnership with sister program 3 Sisters Trekking and other trekking guide companies, EWN trains disadvantaged rural women of Nepal to be trekking guides and subsequently provides job placements.