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Evidence SynthesesJournal Articles

Practice-based Insights in Developing and Implementing a Sport-based Program for Girls

This article examines practice-based learning from developing and implementing the Parivartan Plus program—a structured sports mentoring program for girls in a Mumbai slum. This article reflects on how the program strategies shift  social norms at home and the society at large that restrict girls’ mobility and visibility in public spaces.

This article documents, in detail, the culturally sensitive and gender transformative ways in which the program was developed and implemented. As such, it reflects on particularly effective program strategies, and as well as  implementation challenges and how they were overcome.

Key Findings


  1. The Parivartan program showed success in a slum community where girls have little or no role models or a sense of collective power.
  2. The program engaged with all levels of the social ecology in its implementation, which brings to light the importance of gradual and subtle social changes in day-to-day social relations between individuals and groups.
  3. There were many initial obstacles, such as gaining parental consent for their daughters to participate in a sports program. There were only one-third of families who gave consent, with a drop out rate of nearly 50% by the end.
  4. The program learned the importance of putting more energy to work with families most ready for change than the families that are reluctant. Promoting visibility, of girls, even though with little effect in the beginning, may ultimately result in instigating desire for change within the community.
  5. The program took the initiative in fostering community ownership and accountability, that facilitated new positive social norms and social connections leading to community safety.
  6. While not all girls were interested in a particular type of sport, future programs can introduce more sports and leisure alternatives.
Date published
  • 2018
  • Martine Collumbien
  • Madhumita Das
  • Shweta Bankar
  • Beniamino Cislaghi
  • Lori Heise
  • Ravi K. Verm
Published by Development in Practice