The Standard Chartered Bank (SCB) ‘Goal’ – an initiative to empower adolescent girls through a combination of sports and life skills – recently completed its first year in Pakistan. An education programme that aims to provide financial literacy, life skills and employability training to low-income adolescent girls globally, Goal was initiated in April 2016 in Pakistan with SCB’s international NGO partner, Women Win and the locally selected partner, Right to Play.
SCB operates in many low-income and low-equality markets where tackling gender inequality through education is known to reduce poverty and increase economic growth. From its inception in 2006, the programme has grown to become an internationally-recognised movement operating in 24 countries and helping over 145,000 young women to date.
During its first year in Pakistan, the programme reached 2,447 girls in seven schools in Lyari (a well-known sports/football-loving community in Karachi) and exceeded the planned target of reaching out to 1,765 girls.
Goal’s training curriculum is based on four modules: ‘Be Money Savvy’ focuses on financial education (how to save, invest and open a bank account); ‘Be Yourself’, imparts effective communication skills; ‘Be Healthy’ builds knowledge on health and hygiene and ‘Be Empowered’ teaches girls about different life skills. This year the programme will launch a fifth ‘employability’ module.
What makes Goal unique is it’s play rather than classroom-based methodology to get the curriculum messages across. The physical activities generate fun and help girls remember what they have learnt while giving them a break from the stresses of home life. “Investment in education using sports as a strategy was very innovative 10 years ago when the programme began,” said Sarah Murray, Director, Women Win.
“We know it is one thing to teach a girl information, and another to change her attitude and we think sport gives girls an opportunity to practise their communication and resilience to gain social support, be influenced by a positive role model (a young coach) and develop their skills.”
Murray further added that those skills were transferable and would help girls in classrooms, at home and in employment.
The Goal girls comprise two groups: Goal students and Goal coaches. A selected number of girls (Grade 8 and above) are trained to become coaches who then train Goal students (from Grade 6 or 7) and help them understand and implement the content of the training while reflecting their own empowerment and experience. It takes up to 12 months to complete the programme, after which the girls either continue school or if they are old enough, either look for a job or end up working for Goal as coaches.
The impact, according to Murray is measured in terms of a baseline survey (at the beginning of the programme) and an end line survey via a framework called ‘BAKS’ (Behaviour, Attitude, Knowledge and Status).
For the next year, Goal Pakistan is targeting at least 2,500 girls in different communities across Pakistan.
“We are in the planning stage and next year, through this initiative, we want to touch more girls and get them into the workforce in a meaningful way. We all know women empowerment is a big challenge in our country... and so is education,” said Shahzad Dada, CEO, Standard Chartered Bank Pakistan.
Dada concluded with, “I am proud that we have so far been successful in our journey and that our contribution has made a positive difference to the community.”