Alison Carney

Over the past year, inFocus, through the support of the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation, has engaged a group of five organisations from around the world in a Community of Practice focused on measuring impact related to gender within Sport for Development work (S4D). Together with the five organisations and Dr. Megan Chawansky, we have developed a Common theory of vhange.[1]  During the Laureus Summit 2016, we shared this document and our experiences through a workshop with the greater S4D community. The attendees of this workshop are the initial Learning Community of organisations that may use the theory of change to inform their programme activities that address issues of gender inequality. We realise that the first version of this common theory of change is focused specifically on work with girls, and that there are ways of working on gender inequality that go beyond direct programming for girls. This process inspired us to reflect on our work at inFocus and how, as an organisation, we address issues of inequality, especially gender, and how we can improve and “mainstream” this important issue into our own work and resources.

The first step in this internal process is to apply a gender lens to our inFocus workshops and resources. What does it mean to apply gender lens? We think that the most clear definition comes from Chicago Women in Philanthropy’s ClearSighted Guide[2], which states that, “using the gender lens to assess operations and programs not only underscores an organization’s commitment to gender equality and sensitivity, but ensures that its leadership guides the organization to establish a mission, promote an operating style, and produce achievements that are supportive of the needs of women and girls.” At inFocus, we want to not only include the needs of women and girls in our lens, but we also want to lead on inclusion and sensitivity to other groups that are subject to social discrimination. Our mission, therefore, is a commitment to gender and social equality (including equality related to class, race, disability, citizenship, sexuality) and a sensitivity to inequalities for all types of difference. We aspire to lead by our example of practicing inclusion, through ensuring our work and resources reflect inclusion and diversity to the highest possible degree.

We have begun to mainstream equality and inclusion throughout our existing resources, such as providing inclusive examples and including questions that are gender sensitive. We will continue to do so as we work on new projects with new organisations. This mainstreaming will take place across the four areas in which we work – Social Impact Measurement (SIM); research, evaluation and learning; planning for impact and; theory of change. We hope to both set an example for the partners we work with, and also continue to learn from them regarding how they have been effective at addressing social and gender inequality. 


[1] The Gender Common Theory of Change can be accessed through the inFocus website: http://impactinfocus.com/resources/common-s4d-gender-theory-of-change/
[1] The ClearSighted Guide can be accessed here: http://www.cwiponline.org/site/files/1007/112124/408259/558505/WomenInPhilanthropyBookletV6.pdf

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