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When I joined Goal, I never talked to anyone from the group. My father was against my joining the programme, but now his opinions have changed. I am more confident and can talk to anyone without fear. My brother once remarked in front of some guests at home, that Rakhi will definitely achieve something in life. I felt so proud. Someday, I will prove that I am no less than my brothers.' Rakhi, 17, Goal Champion

Goal

The Indian economy loses an estimated $32.6 billion every year because girls are taken out of schools at a young age, which affects their progress in later years.1

Yet we know that women are key drivers of economic development in our markets, and studies show that investment focused directly on women and girls delivers strong returns.

Goal is our community investment initiative that uses sport and life skills education to transform the lives of adolescent girls around the world. Launched in India in 2006, the programme empowers girls living in urban settings for personal and economic development, providing knowledge and offering a safe place to play.

Empowerment chart

The programme works to change girls' opinions of themselves and their role in the world. By bolstering their self-confidence, improving their knowledge of key health and social issues and offering them a safe place to learn, play, and grow, Goal is changing these girls' lives.

This year we changed the lives of more than 1,600 girls in India with Goal programmes in Delhi, Mumbai and Chennai. In October, we were thrilled to announce at the World Bank Private Sector Leaders' Forum our commitment to expand Goal to reach 100,000 girls over the next four years. This will touch a further five million family and community members, and make Goal one of the largest corporate programmes focused exclusively on supporting adolescent girls.

Our global expansion will begin with Goal launches in Bangladesh, Indonesia, Jordan, and Nigeria.

Run in partnership with leading non-profit organisations, Goal offers weekly sessions to adolescent girls from urban communities, who may attend school or not, subsisting on a low family income. Typically, girls will meet once a week for two hours, over a ten month period, spending time both playing their sport and participating in activities focused on learning a life skill. These are designed to take place on the court and not in the classroom.

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 also launched a revolving fund to make small loans available to our Goal Champions to further their professional aspirations. The fund is administered by our local partners, to whom we provided financial training.

With an eye to scale and efficiency, we developed Goal further this year by sharing best practices and introducing new ones. All materials were redesigned, and we published an activity guide focusing on four core life skills required by adolescent girls to succeed: communications skills, health and hygiene, rights and resources and financial education. (The original model contained 13 modules). An evaluation is currently being conducted by the Population Council to assess the impact of the programme.

Our staff volunteer for Goal, and use their core skills to deliver modules, mentor participants or participate in community events and other activities. Our network of Volunteer Coordinators make staff aware of the opportunities to get involved with Goal.

This community initiative has been recognised with a Beyond Sport Award and in Plan International's Because I Am A Girl report.

1
Plan International, Paying the price: The economic cost of failing to educate girls 2008

Report tools

Annual Report and Accounts 2009