On the occasion of Women Win’s 10th anniversary, the staff set out to re-develop our theory of change.  It aims to more accurately portray Women Win’s work than our previous theory of change, recognizing that the direct effects of Women Win’s work occur at the organizational and sectoral levels, while our girl-level impact is indirect (via our implementing partners).

This global theory of change is a map that illustrates how Women Win’s strategic actions link to change in the world. It encompasses the totality of Women Win’s work, reflecting the strong commitment to the hypothesis that girls’ rights can be advanced through sport and, in turn, that will improve gender equity for sustainable change.  It provides a structure for both facilitating and understanding that hypothesis. Ultimately, it will help to guide our development of evidence-based strategies, inform project monitoring and management, and provide a framework for evaluation and impact assessment.

Women Win advances girls' rights through sport using three strategies, which provide the “pillars” of the theory of change:

WW uses three inputs to advance the Ignite strategy, which broadly aims to improve the effectiveness of programming on girls’ rights and sport through asserting WW’s role as a thought leader.

WW uses four inputs to advance this strategy, which has the broad aim of increasing the strength and quality of programming.  This strategy relies on partnerships; WW currently works with 65 partners in 40 countries.  Here, ‘the Team’ refers to both WW’s direct partners (known as Implementing Partners or IPs) and those other organizations—which are international and national—they assist but do not provide with financial support (known as Alliance Partners or APs).

WW advances this strategy with two inputs to increase the quantity of girls whose rights are advanced through sport.  A key objective of this strategy is to dramatically scale up action on girls and sports, which multi-sectoral partnerships help promote.

WW anticipates that the combined effect of the Intermediate Outcomes will lead to four Long-Term Outcomes:

  • Community-based champions enable girls’ rights through sport
  • Increased quality and scale of girls rights through sport programmes
  • Improved capacities, policies and practices of implementing organisations
  • More cross-sectoral support and investment for girls’ rights through sport programmes

These Longer-Term Outcomes contribute to girl-level Impact.  Women Win is committed to improving the stakes—both directly and indirectly—for the over 600 million adolescent girls in low and middle-income countries, including those who are most marginalized.  WW anticipates that scaled-up, cost-effective, quality programming that reaches more girls, alongside stronger leadership at both community and sectoral level, will result in girl-level Impact.  Changes at this level ultimately will be sustained by changes in families, communities, and societies.

The Impacts are:

  • Decreased GBV
  • Increased girls' economic empowerment
  • Improved girls' SRHR including service access

Applying our theory of change

Women Win is accountable for the Inputs it provides and, to a lesser extent, the Outputs; in other words, these changes are attributable, in large part, to Women Win’s efforts.  Women Win contributes to changes at other levels of the theory of change, but is not wholly accountable for them given the important influence of the actions of others. As such, we dedicate resources to measuring change through the level of Intermediate Outcomes—in order to catalyze more systemic and strategic monitoring of our impact - but not the Long-Term Outcomes nor Impacts.

This theory of change was developed through a partnership between the Population Council and Women Win.

Build Assets

There are three primary assets that can be built through sport: social, human and sport skills. When an adolescent girl has the opportunity to develop these areas through the learning of important life skills, she can create social networks, build mental and emotional health, become educated about her rights, and develop tactical and technical sport skills as well as physical strength.

Provide Access to Resources

Community and institutional resources are often limited for adolescent girls. Well-designed sport programmes can help link girls to health, education and other critical sectors as well as provide access to powerful and important information for their healthy development. Sport programmes can also provide girls with access to mentors, strong female role models and the social support of a team or group of peers.

Develop Agency

The foundation of agency for every girl is her want and ability to act in her own interest. Sport gives adolescent girls the opportunity to develop self-determination in a safe environment. When paired with leadership skills and increased individual potential, that agency serves not only the girl, but also those around her. The value of her contribution to her family, her programme and community increases.