Standard Chartered created the Goal programme to address this issue. Goal uses sports training and life skills education to empower adolescent girls. In partnership with leading non-profit organisations around the world, the programme teaches girls the critical facts about health, communication, rights and managing their personal finances in order to help them transform not just their own lives, but those of their families, friends and future generations.
Launched in Delhi in India, Goal reached 70 girls in 2006. Today, the programme is running in four countries – India, Nigeria, Jordan and China – and has reached over 14,000 girls, nearly 12,000 in 2010 alone. We are on track to achieve our target of delivering Goal to 100,000 girls by 2013.
Goal works in urban communities, offering weekly sessions to adolescent girls who may or may not attend school and are subsisting on a low family income. Typically, girls will meet once a week for two hours, over a six to ten month period, spending time both playing their sports and participating in activities focused on learning a life skill. Girls who complete the programme and display exceptional leadership qualities are invited to become Goal Champions. Those who wish to participate receive training to deliver Goal to their peers. This year, we trained over 250 Goal Champions.
Standard Chartered volunteers are critical to the success of Goal. Hundreds of volunteering hours have been contributed by our staff. In India, all of the financial literacy education modules were delivered by dedicated teams of staff who offered girls lessons about saving, budgeting and borrowing to which they would not otherwise have had access. These classroom lessons culminated in visits to our branches where girls had the opportunity to learn how a bank works and hear from members of our staff how they achieved their success.
In 2011, we will focus on measuring the impact that Goal has on its participants, in terms of both their personal lives and earning potential. For the past year, we have been working with the Population Council to deliver an outcomes study of our India programme. The results are expected in 2011.
We have also been piloting various models for the economic empowerment of Goal participants. In this phase, we will be using our expertise and assets to help our Goal Champions take the next step, whether it is securing access to finance to start their own businesses, or continuing their education so they can compete for a job.
We are constantly enhancing this aspect of our programme. In 2011, we will focus on ways that we can capitalise on our position as an employer of choice in our markets to train Goal Champions and offer them work experience in different functions across Standard Chartered. Building on a model from the Kenyan NGO Global Give Back Circle, we hope to pilot vocational training and job placements in at least two Goal countries. We are also working with experts, such as the Population Council, to understand how we can help integrate girls into formal financial systems and get them on to the path of saving early in their lives.
Name: Gulabsha Parveen
Location: Jaitpur, New Delhi
Gulabsha Parveen, 14 years old, smiles enthusiastically when asked to talk about the difference the Goal programme has made to her life. Gulabsha, the youngest of four sisters, never thought she would be lucky enough to get to play sport like the boys in her school. Then last year, Gulabsha heard that through Goal some girls from her Gaon (village) were playing netball every week, sometimes even taking part in national tournaments. Having found her way to the Goal Delhi Jaitpur site, she stood outside the ground during several sessions, just watching the other girls. Gulabsha explains that she was too afraid to come inside, because she had never played netball before.
The coaches and Goal staff finally persuaded Gulabsha to come and join in. Her father, a labourer, and her mother, a tailor, have always been supportive of Gulabsha. They encouraged her to join the Goal programme along with one of her sisters. The rest, as they say, is history. Gulabsha quickly picked up the game and proved herself on the court. Come rain or shine, she always waited excitedly for each lesson to begin.
Not only has Gulabsha excelled at netball in no time at all (especially while playing her favourite goal keeper position), but her enthusiasm for the game has been truly infectious. According to the Goal staff, the girls who watch her play always try to play better themselves, inspired by her enthusiasm for playing and learning.
Recently, Gulabsha along with several other Goal participants and Goal Champions from Delhi were given the opportunity to train at the Thyagaraj Stadium alongside Carmel Wright and Dr Bimla Pawar, two of the netball competition managers for the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi. Carmel Wright was so impressed by Gulabsha’s game that she awarded her an Honorary Diamond from Netball Australia for her efforts.
Shashi Bharti, Programme Officer, Goal Delhi, says: “Before she joined the programme, Gulabsha would stand awkwardly outside the gates to our ground. She was too shy to ask to play with the other girls. Now she has become a real role model. She is always present, always enthusiastic and helps to motivate the other girls around her. We have seen her grow into a self-confident, strong leader.”
Gulabsha says: “First I would come to the programme and stand outside, because I didn’t know anything about netball. But seeing all the girls play together made me want to join in. I thought I would just come and play once or twice, but I loved the game so much I never wanted to stop. I kept practising, and I now have become so much better. I feel very proud at what I have achieved through my hard work. Now I feel like I can reach somewhere in my life.”
Name: Seema Singh
Location: Aali Gaon, New Delhi
Seema Singh, 13 years old, grew up in the shadow of her three older brothers. When Seema found out about girls in her village playing netball with Goal, she couldn’t believe it. She had never even heard of girls taking part in sport before.
After watching a Goal session, she begged her older brother for permission to join the programme. He refused and told her to stay at home, insisting that there was no use in girls running around playing. Unwilling to give up, Seema asked the Goal staff to help persuade her brother. He reluctantly agreed to let her go. Today, almost a year later, Seema’s brother is first in the family to rush Seema off to her Goal sessions.
Before joining Goal, Seema had never attended school or envisaged anything ever happening in her future besides marriage. Now, when she talks about the friends she has made through Goal, Seema’s eyes light up. Following the example of many of the other girls, Seema was inspired to seek education, and now proudly attends a nearby government school.
When she first joined the programme, Seema admits she had never thought about her own hygiene or the way she dressed. But after seeing the Goal coaches and talking to other girls in the programme, Seema started paying more attention to dressing properly and keeping herself clean.
During the launch event of the Australian Sports Outreach Program at the Australian High Commission in Delhi, Seema was one of the girls picked to demonstrate her netball skills to the media and other dignitaries present. Seema calls it one of the proudest moments of her life. She felt part of something big that day and now wants to work hard so she can always feel that way.
Seema says: “Before joining Goal, I was shy, had no confidence and was scared of speaking to people. Now, after learning how to play and making so many friends, I have become a strong person and feel very proud of myself. I never thought about achieving anything in the future, but now I have dreams. I want to become a Goal Champion and study to become a teacher or a coach.
“Playing netball makes me happier than anything. My brothers and my family look at me with more respect and believe that I will do something with my life. When I left my village for the first time to play a match, I came back home and told my family about how we won, and they were so proud that we went out together to celebrate.”