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Using Football to Kick-Out Gender-Based Violence
As global efforts to address violence against women intensify, we applaud the important work being done across the globe to promote and protect women’s rights. We take this opportunity to also highlight an innovative programme in Zambia that uses football to engage boys and young men aged 12-23 in the prevention and response to gender-based violence (GBV).
The STOP GBV campaign, implemented by Sport In Action (SIA), a sport-for-development organisation, is a response to the alarming statistic that 35% of women worldwide are affected by GBV. Data in Zambia suggests that almost half of all women over the age of 15 have experienced physical violence and one-third of women surveyed had experienced physical violence in the past year.
To address the cultural and social root causes of GBV, SIA recognizes the critical need to involve boys and men in the dialogue, and the STOP GBV campaign uses community football as a platform to integrate sport and anti-GBV education sessions. The programme establishes a safe space where boys and young men can explore positive forms of masculinity that respect and protect the rights of women in their respective communities.
SIA is training over 300 coaches across six districts in Zambia to use football as a tool to address GBV. Working closely with World Vision, the training content and activity projects are carefully tailored to each community, ensuring that the SIA STOP GBV campaign addresses real needs and tackles relevant local issues. The programme’s anti-GBV education component focuses on four key areas: exploring gender, sex and sexuality; understanding and respecting human rights for all; knowledge of HIV & AIDS prevention; and identifying and responding to GBV – at home, work or school.
In addition to working through training programs, football clubs, and men’s groups, the programme also integrates a greater understanding of GBV into a broader array of community outreach events. During the 2014 World AIDS Day celebrations, SIA and its partners used activities such as sports tournaments to engage over 500 young people on GBV prevention, during which they also shared wider public health messages on HIV & AIDs and sexual and reproductive health services. The programme also works closely with parent and teacher groups, equipping them to lead the difficult discussions around GBV and helping them to develop an environment where girls, boys, women, and men have safe spaces to share their experiences and work together in the fight against GBV.
Funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), the UK Department for International Development (DFID), through the World Vision ‘Stamping Out and Preventing Gender –Based Violence Survivor Support’ (GBVSS) Project, the Sport In Action STOP GV campaign also receives technical support from International Inspiration.
International Inspiration is delighted to be a part of this innovative approach. Working together we can make it happen!