The above ‘infographic’ represents what HERA – Everyday Goddess is all about.
From our experience, this is how we believe working with girls aged 10-18 should be approached, and consideration should be given to these five principles when engaging with girls in a physical activity context. Here is some further context for these five principles, along with links to related resources.
Participant Led Approach
Girls must be given an opportunity to co-create the programme. It’s about considering the unique needs, interests and experiences of the group which helps ensure ownership, engagement and investment from those involved.
It’s important to understand that no one strategy or programme will suit the needs of all female participants. Assumptions should also be avoided. We need to understand the world these young women live in before we can make decisions on their behalf. This includes aspects such as school, family, religious values, ability, free time, and financial situation.
Flexibility and adaptability
The way girls want to participate in physical activity changes from group to group, as well as within a group. This means that activity providers should allow the programme to continually change and evolve.
How do we do this? Get regular feedback from those involved. Constant communication, reflection, learning and adaptation is critical to ensure that strategies and activities are relevant, timely and sustainable for the girls participating. It’s all about being able to be flexible to fit the needs of the girls.
- Between deliverer and girls
- Between the deliverer and key influencers (parents, family, teachers) of the girls
- Between girls and their peers
People engaging with the girls are the cornerstone. The right people will take time to engage with the girls, listen to what they want, design relevant programmes, build and foster relationships, and can create an optimal positive learning environment for young women.
The support of parents/caregivers, whānau, friends and school leaders is significant as early experiences can negatively or positively shape girls’ views on physical activity.
Collaboration means a holistic approach with collective impact – and in this programme it’s also important to consider factors affecting well-being and participation. For example, school can be seen a safe space for participation so engagement with teachers and schools can make a positive difference.
It may also be valuable to establish relationships with a greater cross section of females such as school nurses, social workers, religious staff, families and parents. In addition, there may be opportunities to create connection points with non-traditional service providers to reach young girls who don’t normally participate in sport. Think outside the box!
- Empower girls
- Empower people to deliver programmes to girls
HERA is all about empowering girls by providing them with choices and opportunities to co-create the programme and enjoy physical activity. Given this, it’s critical we don’t underestimate young females’ abilities when provided with the right environment!
We should empower teams/volunteers/programme leaders – they are the role models and connectors, and it’s helpful to provide professional development opportunities for those who want to get involved in developing and delivering programmes. One way to do this is to garner feedback from girls who have attended HERA meetings as there is significant value in hearing other people’s stories.