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Women in sport: Inspiring role models beyond the pitch
Women in sport is an opportunity not only to grow female participation but a chance to build a safe environment where girls are able to become role models and lead others in sport, gender equality, healthy living, and HIV and AIDS awareness.
In the context of rural poverty, where gender inequality is often prevalent, it can be very difficult to provide girls with a space where they are free to relax, play sport, learn about taboo subjects like their sexual health, be supported to talk about sensitive issues and challenges that they face as young women, such as sexual and reproductive health knowledge. Thanks to Go Sisters - a programme delivered by EduSport and supported by International Inspiration (IN) - safe spaces are being created for girls of all ages and abilities to play together, socialise and use these platforms to build social inclusion and unity within their communities.
Ruth is very grateful to have joined the Go Sisters programme. As she recounts: “My first experience in the program was very exciting - I had the chance to mingle and create new friends from whom I have come to learn a lot of life experiences, both from those that are coming from well to do families and those that are coming from very low income families. What I like most about this programme is it is inclusive and we have ownership of the programmes. I also like going to the youth camps and the annual tournament because I get a chance to meet people coming from other provinces. This programme is very important it help to empower the girls through sports activities and education.”
In addition to providing a space for girls to come together, Ruth also feels that sport has played an important role in her personal development, “The programme has changed my life I was not a sports person before... now I enjoy playing sport it has also changed my life on how to interact with other people both in my community and school, [it] has also enabled me to be confident and speak up for myself and other girls if things are wrong, for example, saying no to sex if am being false [forced]… I now know more about my rights.” As a result of participating in the Go Sisters programme, Ruth wants to become a lawyer when she finishes school so she can help her fellow girls who are victims of different types of abuse. This is a testament to the influence the programme has had on inspiring girls to bring change to their community.
Go sisters has also helped girls to access school and helped them become more aware of sensitive issues that might not be discussed at home. “My life has really changed since I joined…thank you for supporting me to go to school by contributing towards my school fees. I’m urging my fellow girls to take part in the Go Sisters programme because most of our parents are very busy they don’t have time to speak to their children about issues that are affecting the girl child such as HIV and AIDS, Sexual Reproductive Health and Gender-based violence but through the Go Sisters we are able to learn all these issues which will help us when we face some challenges in the future.”
Education is a key theme of IN's programmes around the world.