Women Win believes that SPORT has unique elements that are instrumental in developing the leadership of girls and young women. Sport cultivates the leadership skills inherent in girls and young women, creates an enabling environment in which they practise leadership skills and allows them to actively use their knowledge and skills to drive change in their own life and in their community.

1. Defining Leadership

Over time, Women Win has developed a framework for leadership, which serves as a foundation for all our programmes and activities. Our definition is based on research, theory and experiences around leadership, sports and the skills and development of adolescent girls and young women. The basic premise of our definition of leadership is that leadership is a set of skills, behaviours and attitudes that can be learned, practiced, and refined through experience, mentorship and education. Women Win defines a girl’s leadership as her ability to exercise her rights and drive change. Our programmes promote leadership through a process (Prepare, Practice and Play) of building four key competencies (Self Confidence, Vision, Voice and Action).

2. Identifying Leadership Competencies

Leadership manifests itself in a variety of ways and is driven and supported by many competencies. Women Win has defined four core competencies of leadership as a way of making the concept of improvement more tangible. By categorizing skills and competencies, girls are able to recognize, celebrate, enhance and encourage their leadership development.

• Identify strengths and celebrate successes
• Take risks and step up to challenges
• Fail forward
• Accept and value diversity

• See a better future
• Set and adapt goals
• Inspire and influence others

• Communicate effectively
• Be assertive
• Be critical and self-aware

• Take action with integrity and empathy
• Make decisions and solve problems in a critical, empathetic and collaborative way
• Cope with emotions and stress
• Seek creative and innovative approaches

3. Building Leadership: A Theory of Change

Women Win has identified three stages of leadership development in adolescent girls and young women: Prepare, Practice, and Play. They are sequential but fluid. Girls may move from one stage to the next, only to return to a previous stage when they encounter a new situation.

A young woman discovers and develops her skills and talents, and becomes aware of her leadership potential. She builds her confidence and accumulates knowledge and information.

A young woman connects and interacts with others and learns how to team up. Through communication and interaction she learns how to negotiate and exercise her rights and solve conflicts. It’s in this stage that her leadership potential and abilities expand and strengthen.

A young woman exercises her leadership skills. She influences and motivates others and becomes an agent of change over her own life as well as the lives of people around her. She is driving change by taking action and giving back to the community.

In each leadership development stage and throughout all Women Win activities, girls acquire leadership skills, attitudes and knowledge, and develop an array of competencies. Women Win is convinced that its culturally relevant sport programmes, as well as the mentorship programme, digital storytelling and community engagement can meet the simultaneous needs of offering girls new venues in which to learn leadership skills, and begin breaking down restrictive gender norms within their families and society at large (“Multiplier effect”).