Women Win

Astrid Aafjes.
Non-profit that leverages the power of sport and play, supporting other organisations to empower girls and young women to know their rights, specifically regarding gender-based violence, sexual health, and economic empowerment.
What solution does the innovation propose?

Sport is a tool with the potential to empower youth, create social networks, build mental and emotional health, develop sport skills as well as physical strength, advance girls’ rights, and, in consequence, improve gender equity. However, programs are often designed for, and led by, boys and men. Therefore, Women Win works to promote the fight for women’s rights through sport while bringing resources and a rigorous, authentic gender lens to the sector; optimizing resources, increasing impact, and improving the female inclusion in existing programs. The direct effects of their work occur at organisational and sectoral levels while the girl-level impact is indirect, via the sport programs their implementing partners run in the communities. 


Well-designed programs can connect girls to health, education and other critical sectors, as well as provide access to important information for their healthy development. They also provide girls with access to strong female role models and extended social support. Finally, 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. Girls who develop agency, self-determination, and leadership skills, will lead to changes in families, communities, and societies that will ultimately decrease gender-based violence, increase girls' economic empowerment, and improve girls' sexual and reproductive health and rights.


Global Impact Award (2017).

Impact evidence

  • 4,132,784 girls and women reached since 2007.
  • Between 2006 and 2018, the Goal Progamm, one of their flagship programmes, reached more than 480,000 girls and women in 20 countries.
  • In 2019 € 2,593,815 million were re-granted to 56 partners in 36 countries.
  • In 2019, 49 workshops delivered in 33 countries to 1,129 participants.
  • In 2019, 74,769 online views of guidelines and curricula.

After more than 10 years of scaling the Goal Program in more than 20 countries, Women Win and the Overseas Development Institute conducted an impact evaluation of the program. The evaluation demonstrated that girls benefit significantly from a breadth of positive impacts related to confidence, aspirational mindset, sexual and reproductive health, education, financial knowledge and ability to resist gender based violence. The research confirms the long-held belief that quality girls’ sports programming tangibly changes the way girls see themselves and the ambitions they have for their lives.

How does it work?

Women Win advances girls' rights through sport using the following three strategies:

  • To improve the sport and development sector effectiveness and quality of programs through conferences, trainings and other forums. Evidence-informed program tools and evidence, as well as high-quality data regarding the direct implementation are also provided.
  • To support and increase the strength and quality of programs as well as their direct implementing partners and other assisted organizations. Formal and informal gatherings such as workshops or trainings are created to bring organizations from the sector together, exchange knowledge, and generate intra and cross-sectoral partnerships and strategic alliances. Technical assistance is provided, and collaborative, open source resources and learning tools to further empower gender and sport champions are facilitated. Collaborations should increase the capacities, policies and practices of all involved organisations, and therefore their impact and efficiency.
  • To grow the movement. A key objective of this strategy is to scale up the actions, methodologies and programs that empower girls and young women through sport. These must be girl specific with their unique needs in mind and delivered by an appropriate and equitable gender balance of role models. Strategic communication actions and funder engagement are crucial.

Geographical scope

Where was initially developed
The Netherlands.
Where has been implemented so far
More than 30 countries in 4 continents.
Last updated: 
September 2020