Women Win is proud to be a key partner in the Australian Government’s first Asian Sports Partnership (ASP) programme, announced today by the Minister for Foreign Affairs, the Honorable Julie Bishop. The ASP programme will see Australian sporting organisations travel to countries in Asia and deliver innovative sport programmes that focus on gender equality, disability inclusion and peace building. The programme is part of the Australian Government’s Sports Diplomacy Strategy 2015-18 devoted to sports diplomacy as a tool to increase dialogue and cultural understanding between people around the world. 

Under the ASP programme, Women Win will work in partnership with Volleyball Australia and Girl Determined to build the capacity of female coaches and increase leadership and life skills of 1000 girls and young women in conflict-affected areas of Myanmar.

Brooke Zobrist, Founder of Girl Determined said, "We are thrilled to have the support of the Australian Government to initiate this bold collaboration between Girl Determined, Volleyball Australia and Women Win.  As far as I know there is no other collaboration like it in Myanmar to date, particularly in its dedication to bringing active, effective and incredibly fun sports-based programming to girls from conflict-affected backgrounds. Together we will help to unlock the proven potential of 1000 adolescent girls in Myanmar. What a privilege!”

The highlight of the programme will be a Leadership and Volleyball Coaching Camp scheduled to take place in Myanmar in May 2017, co-delivered by Women Win and Volleyball Australia. The expertise of Australian coaches and official trainers from Volleyball Australia will be leveraged to develop the capacity of local female volleyball coaches from Girl Determined.

“Adolescent girls around the world have the power to drive change in their lives and their communities,” added Women Win Executive Director, Maria Bobenrieth. “Ensuring girls have the opportunity to play in safe spaces can set them up for success in the future. They learn powerful lessons of resiliency, goal setting and teamwork. Volleyball Australia will bring invaluable sporting expertise to further improve the quality of Girl Determined’s excellent girl-centred initiatives in Myanmar. We look forward to being part of this innovative partnership”.

For more information on the programme please contact Yvonne Henry, Partnerships Manager, at y.henry@womenwin.org.

Women Win is the global leader in girls’ empowerment through sport. We leverage the power of play to help girls build leadership skills and become better equipped to exercise their rights. Sport is only our tool. Our end game is helping girls thrive as they face the most pressing issues of adolescence, including accessing sexual and reproductive health and rights, addressing gender-based violence and achieving economic empowerment.

Girl Determined is a girls’ rights organisation based in Myanmar, which works with adolescent girls from mixed ethnic and religious backgrounds who live in poor peri-urban and rural communities. The organisation facilitates girls' recognition of their personal and group potential. At the core of Girl Determined’s programmes are life skills circles that bring girls together weekly. The circles are structured after- school peer groups that span two academic years. They are run by trained facilitators who deliver a life skills curriculum that addresses issues such as decision-making, self-confidence, building friendships, understanding cultural and religious differences, girls’ rights and future planning. Currently, there are more than 2,000 girls participating in life skills circles on a weekly basis. In Kachin State, Shan State, Mon State and Yangon, Mandalay, and Sagaing Regions, Girl Determined has taken the first steps to integrate volleyball into the life skills circles. Volleyball has been particularly popular in conflict-affected communities.

Volleyball Australia is the national body for volleyball in Australia. It is recognised as a National Sporting Organisation by the Australian Sports Commission and is a leading member of Federation Internationale de Volleyball (FIVB) – the international governing body of the sport. It is also a member of the Asian Volleyball Confederation (AVC) and its sub zone, Oceania Volleyball Zonal Association (OZVA). In this capacity it plays a role to support the development of the sport in countries in the Asia-Pacific region. VA governs volleyball across Australia, leading all domestic volleyball competitions, participation programmes and development activities for men’s, women’s and beach volleyball.

Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT)’s purpose is to make Australia stronger, safer and more prosperous by promoting and protecting their interests internationally and contributing to global stability and economic growth, specifically in the Indo–Pacific region. In 2015, DFAT, together with Austrade, the Office for Sport, Tourism Australia and the Australian Sports Commission, developed the Australian Sports Diplomacy Strategy 2015-18 to inform, engage and influence through sport, in the Indo-Pacific region and beyond. Linked to this is the new Asian Sport Partnerships (ASP) programme, which will expand Australia’s sport for development cooperation into Asia in 2015-17. The ASP programme will deliver direct grants to Australian National Sporting Organisations to support partnerships and innovation in the region.

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Photo Credits: Minzayar Oo, Yangon, Myanmar