Empower Girls in India Through Sports

by CREA Vetted since 2014 Top Ranked Site Visit Verified
Empower Girls in India Through Sports
Empower Girls in India Through Sports
Empower Girls in India Through Sports
Empower Girls in India Through Sports
Empower Girls in India Through Sports
Empower Girls in India Through Sports
Empower Girls in India Through Sports
Empower Girls in India Through Sports
Empower Girls in India Through Sports
Empower Girls in India Through Sports
Empower Girls in India Through Sports
Empower Girls in India Through Sports
Empower Girls in India Through Sports
Empower Girls in India Through Sports
Empower Girls in India Through Sports
Empower Girls in India Through Sports
Empower Girls in India Through Sports
Empower Girls in India Through Sports
Empower Girls in India Through Sports
Empower Girls in India Through Sports
Empower Girls in India Through Sports
Empower Girls in India Through Sports
Empower Girls in India Through Sports
Empower Girls in India Through Sports
Empower Girls in India Through Sports
Empower Girls in India Through Sports
Empower Girls in India Through Sports
Empower Girls in India Through Sports

It’s My Body: Advancing Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights of Adolescent Girls through Sports

A community-based program led by CREA and co-implemented with 12 partner CBOs in Bihar, Jharkhand and Uttar Pradesh.

My name is Reena (name changed), I am 15 years old and live in Jharkhand. I told my mother that how playing football has changed the way I think about women and girls. Like others, I also used to think that girls can’t play football, they are physically weak and their place is inside the house. But the training sessions and playing football has made me think about other side of the sprectrum which nobody has spoken about before – why girls only have to do the household work? Why boys do not contribute to it? Why we are not allowed to go out without permission and boys do not have to worry about it? If we do not get the chance how will we know our potentiality?

I have started thinking about these and have been discussing these questions with my mother. I have asked my mother why she doesn’t ask my brother to do household work. I have given her examples of players and coaches from IMB. My mother has started thinking about these questions as well. Though I still have to do the household work, but now my mother let me go out to play football. I see this as a first step to bring change and hope one day it would not be a struggle for me to excess public place.”    

Like Reena, many girls who are part of It’s My Body (IMB) program have continued to demonstrate confidence by questioning and having conversations with their family and community members to negotiate for their rights. During this quarter, IMB focused primarily on strengthening leadership skills of girls by providing platforms to demonstrate their skills and confidence. CREA and its partner organisations have worked towards this by providing continuous support to the girls to take initiatives in their communities.

During their participation in residential trainings to build their leadership early this year, the girls identified gender discrimination as a crucial issue which they (girls) face in their communities. They reflected that it leads to no or very less access to opportunities for them and prevents them from making choices and decisions in their lives. They decided to take their learnings to other girls and to work on this issue by creating awareness on gender discrimination through sports.

In order to break the stereotype of gender and sports, girls have started playing football. They have reached out to the girls who did not participate in playing football by talking to them and their parents to share their experiences and journeys. The girls took part in a football match organised in their area and shared how they had overcome their own baises about playing in public, running freely and wearing clothes of their choice. Earlier when adolescent girls would go to play football in shorts and t-shirts, the boys in the community would make abusive remarks:

"Tum log ladke nahi ho, tum log itne chhote kapde kaise pahan sakti ho?" (You are not boys. How can you wear such short clothes?).

Elderly members of their community also had problems with this and would criticise their parents, which used to end up in restrictions being imposed on girls on their clothing and mobility. The only alternatives that these girls saw initially was to play football wearing salwar kameez (traditional dress which covers their body almost 90%). But now they have realised that it is their right to decide the kind of clothes they want to wear and have started negotiating with their parents and other community members.

Through these initiatives they have started believing in themselves and have become more confident to advocate for their rights.

“Now I have started taking a leadership role in my community. Earlier we (girls) didn’t talk about our own rights; we used to do whatever we were told to do. But now if we are stopped from going to school or playing with friends, we talk to our parents and convince them so that they do not stop us from going to school or playing with our friends. We also now take small decisions at our end.” – IMB girl from Uttar Pradesh. 

Leadership camp
Leadership camp

It’s My Body: Advancing Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights of Adolescent Girls through Sports

A community-based program led by CREA and co-implemented with 12 partner CBOs in Bihar, Jharkhand and Uttar Pradesh.

“IMB sessions helped me see and understand and question discriminatory practices that were part of my family and my life, which were quite normal for my parents and even for me before joining IMB. My parents would allow my brother to continue school but for me the plan was to find a groom and marry me off. I did not want to get married so soon, so I protested. I realised that it is important to speak to my parents and make them understand why I don’t want to get married now and study instead. I had many discussions with them to share the reasons for not getting married, continuing and completing my education and getting a job. I gave examples of other girls from my village as well as other villages who after completing education were working. It was not easy to convince then but after regular discussion with my parents they finally agreed. This courage and confidence to speak up has come after I joined IMB sessions.” - IMB participant from Jharkhand.

In this quarter, CREA conducted 2 leadership camps for 60 girls between the ages of 15-17 years from Jharkhand and Bihar. The most important strategy used in this camp was the inclusion of skills, which would directly build leadership in the girls, and would prepare them to take initiatives in their lives and communities, like perspective building on concepts of leadership, collective leadership and skills building for effective communication, identifying issues, problem solving, planning and action. Residential camps provide girls a safe space to reflect and discuss issues related to gender, discrimination, mobility, sexuality, and to share personal experiences from their life.

The girls come from very traditional and conservative contexts where norms of sexuality and gender are very deep rooted and strict, so much so that activities like a simple welcome ritual for them to the camps was special for the girls. They shared that for the first time they felt respected. 

“The way we were welcomed, nobody has ever done it before. I felt that for the first time we were getting respect from others. We have been always asked to respect others even if we did not get the same respect back. Also, nobody has asked about our dreams before.” – A participant from Bihar.

Their participation in the rest of the activities at the camp was excellent. They took a lot of interest in different activities conducted for perspective building, so that they not only reflect on their own lives, but also get a broader understanding of their communities and contexts. They had very rich discussions around collective leadership, women leaders, need for team building and team work, gender and sexuality and social norms etc. The concepts of leader and leadership were understood from a gender lens. It was stark that none of them selected a female leader as their favourite during one of the activities. They shared during the discussion that they either didn’t know about them or even if they knew names, they were not aware of the work they have done. They realised that there should be more discussion about women and girl leaders as there are many of them at village, community, districts, national and international levels.

Leading to this discussion was the session on “learning from the leaders”. Young leaders from IZAD a woman led organisation in Bihar, which is working with women, girls and children from Dalit and Minority communities on education, skill building and empowerment, interacted with the participants to share their personal journeys of learning. These community leaders, who were from Muslim communities, shared that they were not even allowed to go to school, and that only after joining the organisation did they get the chance to learn at a later age. Their stories were inspiring and motivated the girls.

In the process of learning all participants worked on conceptualizing and developing small community based ‘action’ projects to go back with and work in their communities during the period of next 6 months. Girls planned that they will be building their skills of playing football by meeting them regularly. This will provide them a platform to talk about gender discrimination and rights of girls.

The camp was successful in enhancing self-confidence, understanding and skills of girls for taking on new leadership roles in their communities.

Leadership Camp_Jharkhand
Leadership Camp_Jharkhand

It’s My Body: Advancing Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights of Adolescent Girls through Sports

A community-based program led by CREA and co-implemented with 12 partner CBOs* in Bihar, Jharkhand and Uttar Pradesh.

During this reporting period, CREA and its partner organisations – Gramonnati Sansthan and Mahila Swarozgar Samiti, had organised a five-day residential leadership camp for 32 girls of age group 15 – 17 years in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh. Leadership camps are designed to build the perspectives and leadership skills of selected girls who have completed 10 month long curriculum based trainings as part of It’s My Body (IMB) programme and who are better placed to take leadership roles in their personal lives and communities. 

The camp was designed and conducted with the main objectives to build understanding and skills on leadership, which included - building perspective on women and leadership; learning about the power of collective leadership; building confidence on effective communication; identifying issues, analysing and reflecting on life problems; problem-solving and finding solutions to issues in their lives and communities; strategising and planning for action etc.

Most of the girls who participated in this leadership camp were travelling out of their villages and districts for the first time and were quite excited to participate in the camp. They actively participated in all the sessions and shared their experiences within their families and communities throughout the camp.

Many activities were conducted to build their perspective so that they not only reflect on their own lives but also get the broader understanding of their communities and contexts. Girls analysed and reflected on some of the crucial questions related to leaders and leadership especially by women and girls –

  • Why don’t we hear about women leaders?
  • Is it because there are no women leaders?
  • How have women contributed to movements?

The discussion on these questions helped them understand the broader context of leadership.

At the end of this leadership camp, many of them shared that this camp has helped them to gain courage and confidence to speak and gain better understanding on the importance of girl’s participation in decision making and taking initiatives. Here’s few quotes from the girls:

“I have gained courage to speak up and make others understand why girls need to come out. Earlier when other girls were not studying I used to think that it doesn’t matter if they don’t study. But, I don’t think this way anymore. “– a participant from Uttar Pardesh

“I was scared to speak in front of so many people, I used to be quite. I have started speaking now, I have gained courage here.” – a participant from Uttar Pardesh

“I have gained courage to speak up. I could speak to my parents about continuing my studies because they want me to get married. I could make them understand why I want to study further.” – a participant from Uttar Pardesh

In one of the activities, they learnt the skills of identifying issues of importance in their lives. Some of the issues for which they would like to raise their voices included safe public transportation, more safe spaces for girls, basic facilities like electricity, toilet, and hospitals; to include playgrounds, more female coaches, more female doctors & teachers, access to schools and colleges for higher education in their communities, attaining scholarships for girls from economically poor backgrounds, more facilities for disabled girls, more access to centres for technical training etc.

At the end of the leadership camp, girls were also encouraged to develop a six-month long community based ‘action project’ so that they would continue to be leaders and bring changes in their communities. One of the ideas of the ‘action project’ included building awareness about girl’s participation in sports and gender equality. All of them also plan to teach other girls the skills of playing football and also talk to more girls about gender equality and girls rights. CREA will regularly follow-up with the partner organisations to ensure that girls are getting required support from them to complete their action projects.     

Overall, the camp was a huge success as it helped these girls to enhance their self-confidence and skills for taking up leadership roles in their communities.

 

*List of IMB partners:

Bihar:

  • Akanksha Sewa Sadan, Muzaffarpur
  • Nari Nidhi, Muzaffarpur
  • Gaurav Grameen Mahila Vikas Manch, Patna

Jharkhand:

Uttar Pradesh:

  • Gramonnati Sansthan, Mahoba
  • Mahila Swarozgaar Samiti, Benares
  • Sakar, Bareilly
  • Sadbhavna Trust, Sanat Kada, Lucknow
  • Veerangana Mahila Vikas Manch, Jhansi

Update for Global Giving

December 2017-February 2018

 

It’s My Body: Advancing Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights of Adolescent Girls through Sports

A community-based program led by CREA and co-implemented with 12 partner CBOs* in Bihar, Jharkhand and Uttar Pradesh.

During the period of December 2017 to February 2018 important activities took place towards further strengthening the programme as well as the girls of It’s My Body (IMB) programme. The following has been the highlights:

ü  New batch of girls (batch 5) joined the IMB programme

ü  Participation in 4th Annual Goals for Girls Summit 2018, New Delhi

 

New batch of girls (batch 5) joined the IMB programme – During this reporting period CREA and its partner organizations have added 1574 adolescent girls as batch 5 of the IMB programme. A comprehensive and systematic process of selection of girls by listing and collecting data (list of adolescent girls) from government run ICDS (Integrated Community Development Scheme) programme was done to ensure equal and fair representation of girls from all ages between 12-16 years, different caste and community and out of school girls.Out of the total number of 1574 girls 39% belongs to Scheduled Caste community, 52% belongs to OBC (Other Backward Classes), 6% girls are from Scheduled Tribe community and 4% belongs to the general category.

 

Participation in 4th Annual Goals for Girls[1] Leadership Summit (G4G) – 30 IMB girls from 10 partner organizations[2] across three states participated in the 4th annual Goals for Girls Summit from 2nd-6th January 2018 in Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in New Delhi. It is an annual gathering of girls, coaches and organizations from across India as part of an exchange program with United States. A total of 280 girls, coaches and staff participated in the summit from 13 organizations across India. The objective of this summit is to build life skills and leadership skills of girls by using football to become agents of change in their own life as well as in their community.

 

Participation in the gathering provided IMB girls a rich learning experience. They interacted with girls from all over the country and from USA and participated in various dialogue and discussions around leadership. In addition to this they got training from coaches and professional athletes from the USA with a strong focus on leadership activities. As part of the summit they had friendly soccer match between all participating teams and developed their change projects.

 

Goals for Girls leadership summit focuses on building leadership skills through soccer, technical training and various leadership and team building activities. In this process all teams work on conceptualizing and developing their ‘change’ projects which they go back with and work during the period of next one year. IMB girls too worked on their project, it was on building awareness about gender inequality in their communities and schools in which the girls would be focusing on ensure girls in their own community and school gets an opportunity to play football. As these 30 girls have learned advance techniques and skills set during the event, they will be teachnig those with others girls aged 12-16 years in their respective community in the next one year. CREA will be working with the partners and the girls to update G4G on the progress. Along with the sport training they would also engage with the partner CBO in creating awareness about gender inequality and advocating for equal rights for girls among parents and other members in the community. As part of their project they proposed that they will share their learning from the summit with other girls by doing sessions on teamwork, leadership and communication with them. They confidently came forward to take the lead to train other girls for becoming more comfortable with their bodies while playing football.

“Most of the girls still don’t get opportunities for playing sports like football which are considered for boys. In our schools when we ask our teachers for football they don’t understand why we want to play football and not do drawing like other girls. It is strange for them but we want to create awareness so that they understand that girls can also play football and start encouraging girls to play football.” – IMB participants    

For many of the IMB girls playing in such a big stadium i.e. national level stadium for the first time was overwhelming initially, and their excitement converted into tremendous confidence to actively participate in the activities and matches at the summit. They very enthusiastically participated in each and every activity of the summit. It was awesome to see them interact and enjoy with other girls, although most of them did not know each other’s language it hardly made any difference for them to connect with other girls. IMB girls played with the total sporting spirit and reached the semi-finals of soccer matches;. In four days they played, learnt, laughed and enjoyed together; they made friends and stood out as leaders and strong team amongst others.

“Till now, we used to play at our villages only. We have reached here because of our hard work and confidence. We have reached till semi-finals; if we practice regularly we could even reach to the finals and win it.” – IMB participant from Jharkhand

 

*List of IMB partners:

 Bihar:

  • Akanksha Sewa Sadan, Muzaffarpur
  • Nari Nidhi, Muzaffarpur
  • Gaurav Grameen Mahila Vikas Manch, Patna

 Jharkhand:

  • Mahila Mukti Sansthan , Hazaribagh 
  • Srijan Foundation, Hazaribagh 
  • Lok Prerna Kendra, Hazaribagh and Chatra
  • Nurture Trust, West Singhbhum

 Uttar Pradesh:

  • Gramonnati Sansthan, Mahoba
  • Mahila Swarozgaar Samiti, Benares
  • Sakar, Bareilly
  • Sadbhavna Trust, Sanat Kada, Lucknow
  • Veerangana Mahila Vikas Manch, Jhansi

 

 

[1] http://www.goalsforgirls.org/

[2]Akansha Seva Sadan, Muzaffarpur; Nari Nidhi, Muzaffarpur; Gaurav Grameen Mahila Vikas Manch, Patna from Bihar

Mahila Mukti Sansthan, Hazaribagh; Srijan Foundation , Hazaribagh; Lok Prerna Kendra, Hazaribagh and Chatra; Nurture Trust, West Singhbhum from Jharkhand

Gramonnati Sansthan, Mahoba; Mahila Swarozgaar Samiti, Benaras; Sakar, Bareilly from Uttar Pradesh


Attachments:
Girls Play Girls Lead
Girls Play Girls Lead

It’s My Body: Advancing Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights of Adolescent Girls through Sports

A community-based program led by CREA and co-implemented with 12 partner CBOs* in Bihar, Jharkhand and Uttar Pradesh.

During this period, a team of 7 girls (in age group of 16-22 years) from It’s My Body program (Jharkhand and Uttar Pradesh) participated in a week-long event ‘Girls Play Girls Lead’, a football league festival organised by YFC[1] (Youth Football Club) from 11-18 November 2017 in Rurka Kalan, Punjab, India. This festival is a part of YFC’s annual EDU-League (Education-League) in Punjab, which is a combination of innovative sports and education initiative.

This football festival provided an opprotunity to these girls to participate in a great space for exchange of learnings. They played as a team for the first time, learnt new skills from other teams and coaches, represented CREA and partner organisations at the event, and confidently shared their understanding on the issues of sexulity, gender and rights. Though getting permission from their parents to participate in this event was still a huge challenge. The coach of the IMB football team (who was a participant in IMB programme and now is a coach and IMB trainer) was successful in convincing the parents.

“I had difficulty in convincing my parents for participating in the event. They think that I am shy and simple and innocent to travel to Punjab. But when the coach spoke to my parents and explained about the event and told them that other girls from Jharkhand are also travelling to Punjab, they got convinced that I will be safe and will manage….After reaching Delhi, Salma (coach) called my parents and they were relaxed after that.” – Kaushalya, participant from Jharkhand

As part of this festival, CREA had organised and facilitated a session with 150 girls on the issues of sexuality and gender to build their understanding on gender, discrimination and sports and we got an overwhelming response from the participants. IMB girls also observed that most of the organisations working with girls focus on increasing their skills on sports but they do not focus much on building their understanding on some of the crucial issues related to girl’s lives like gender, sexuality, consent and choice.

“They all are very good football players. But, they only play football. Don’t they have sessions on gender and other issues like we do? – Sanjana, Uttar Pradesh

The event also gave an opportunity to the IMB team to reflect on their skills to play football and realise that they need to practice more and also work on their team strategies. Although, they did not win in any match but they came back with great confidence and learning. Overall, it was a great learning and networking experience for CREA and the girls.

 

[1] http://yfcrurkakalan.org/

 

 

*List of IMB partners:

 

Bihar:

 

  • Akanksha Sewa Sadan, Muzaffarpur
  • Nari Nidhi, Muzaffarpur
  • Gaurav Grameen Mahila Vikas Manch, Patna

 

 Jharkhand: 

 

 

 Uttar Pradesh:

 

  • Gramonnati Sansthan, Mahoba
  • Mahila Swarozgaar Samiti, Benares
  • Sakar, Bareilly
  • Sadbhavna Trust, Sanat Kada, Lucknow
  • Veerangana Mahila Vikas Manch, Jhansi

 

 

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CREA

Location: New York - USA
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @OfficialCREA
Project Leader:
Anuradha Chatterji
New York, New York United States
$10,963 raised of $20,000 goal
 
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