Let’s Play Fair – Rwanda
In Rwanda, women and girls are not only deeply affected by the persistence of harmful gender norms, but they are additionally burdened with the residual effects of the 1994 ethnic genocide. During these tragic months, Rwandan women were subjected to sexual and repressive violence on a massive scale, the effects of which still contribute to the country’s pervasive gender gap. Post-genocide recovery efforts still exist today with an emphasis on education, reconciliation and stability.
KPI takes a one village at a time approach, and has made a long-term commitment to the youth and community members in Gatagara, Rwanda. With the goal of ensuring local ownership and sustainability of programs, KPI has recruited and trained local community members aged 25-35 as gender equality “Coaches.” Many of these Coaches are local school teachers, which further contributes to programs seamlessly becoming a part of village life. KPI has 3 partner schools that we work closely with and help support with a quarterly giving program.
Gender Equity Coaches
In order to ensure local sustainability and program longevity, the Kids Play Rwanda (KPR) team is made up of 5 men and 8 women and have received intensive and interactive sport and gender equity training from Boston-based Edgework Consulting. Specifically recruited to be caring adult role models, 9 of these Coaches are local school teachers, further contributing to local ownership and sustainability so that programs seamlessly become a part of village life.
With a long-term commitment to youth and their communities, Coaches deliver interactive activities throughout the year that help youth participants – boys and girls aged 7-18 years old – significantly advance their sports skills while concurrently learning how to better understand each gender’s contributions, both on and off the field.
KPI’s community based gender equity program, Let’s Play Fair (LPF), provides a safe place for boys and girls aged 7-18 years old to participate in educational sports activities. The inclusive LPF program demands teamwork and fosters positive relationships between genders in order to complete program activities. Youth who participate in LPF are provided with the opportunity through a variety of sports to intensify supportive peer networks and to engage in more frequent and meaningful contact with peers of both genders, ultimately breaking down gender norms and misperceptions about women’s capabilities.
The goal of LPF is to use sport and interactive discussions to shift attitudes, behaviors and gender norms between girls and boys. It is based on an understanding that in order to empower girls, boys must play a meaningful role in the process so both genders understand how each contribute to a healthy community.
In addition to daily LPF sessions aimed at educating and inspiring youth participants, KPI helps the entire Gatagara community find better ways to live, work and play together through weekly Community Day events. These large-scale events engage participants, their families and the wider community in gender equity activities and help KPI achieve the important organizational goal of building a better community with a bigger purpose.
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