Oceania Football Confederation (OFC)

Empowering Women in Football: A transformative leadership programme delivered across 11 Pacific Islands.

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Empowering Women in Football: A transformative leadership programme delivered across 11 Pacific Islands.


Auckland, New Zealand

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Top challenges

Increase the number of girls and women participating in all aspects of football.

Change in perceptions towards girls and women’s engagement in football.  

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Approx. 500 women across 11 Pacific Islands were positively impacted by the programme.

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The Oceania Football Confederation (OFC) is responsible for organising and developing football in the South Pacific. They engaged Capability Group to design a Women in Football Capacity Building Programme to upskill those working, or aspiring to work, in women’s football.

The challenge

When Emma Evans, Women's Football Manager at OFC, took on her role in 2019, she recognised the lack of women working in and for women's football in the Pacific region. The sports industry is predominantly male-dominated, and gender discrimination, exclusion, and inequalities persist in the region.

To address these challenges, the Women in Football Capacity Building Programme was designed to provide a safe and welcoming environment for women interested in football, offering pathways in coaching, refereeing, administration, leadership, and volunteering. The programme's objectives extended beyond growing the game of football; it aimed to change mindsets, empower women, build healthier communities, and tackle social issues affecting girls and women.

The solution

The original proposal included bringing the new Women’s Football Development Officers together for a week-long, face-to-face delivery in Auckland in 2020. But due to covid lockdown, the programme was repurposed and delivered online.

The programme included modules on self-leadership, accountability, mindset, values, communication, trust building and project management skills. A Train the Trainer (TTT) module gave the newly appointed Women’s Development Officers the leadership and facilitation skills they needed to deliver the capacity building programme in their country.

The results

The Women in Football Capacity Building Programme had a transformative impact on its participants, empowering them with football knowledge and essential life skills. The women who attended the online training became facilitators in their own communities, creating a ripple effect as they delivered workshops across the Pacific Island nations.

Currently, there are 19 Women's Development Officers across 11 countries in the Pacific, supporting OFC's mission to grow the game. Approximately 30 women have been trained as facilitators, reaching almost 500 women across 18 cohorts. The programme's ultimate goal was to increase female participation in football, and it has successfully led to more girls playing the sport in the Pacific.

“It wasn't just about helping to develop football across the Pacific. It was much bigger than that. The programme helped them [the participants] develop leadership skills and confidence they can use in other ways to help and support their communities. Some have even delivered the capability building programme to small business owners.

Emma Evans, Women's Football Manager at Oceania Football Confederation (OFC)

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