In the communities we work, gender inequality remains a serious issue. Cultural norms and traditions can perpetuate discrimination and stereotypes for women and girls. Barriers to education, the threat of violence, gaps in reproductive health knowledge and social exclusion are among the many challenges facing women and girls--and issues we tackle through our educational programs.
We have developed thousands of games to promote inclusion and support the rights of every child. Using games and activities, we combine fun with learning so children can connect and apply this knowledge to their wider life experiences. Our games, like Mosquito Tag, Condom Relay and Infection Protection, all deliver tried-and-tested approaches with powerful outcomes.
We involve parents, schools, community leaders and regional authorities to implement child-centred, gender-sensitive learning strategies that are proven to transform girls' prospects. It is part of a holistic approach that also involves working with boys and men to fundamentally change grassroots attitudes, values and beliefs about the role of women and girls in society.
Levelling the playing field
Of the millions of children we reach every year, 50% are girls and 57% of our Coaches are female. Participation in our programs improve their life chances by empowering them to stay in school, safeguard their health, develop leadership skills, speak up for themselves and gain self-confidence. This is also nurturing a new generation of young women to become role models--active citizens that contribute to their communities equally with boys and men.
In Tanzania, a small group of school girls are on a mission: to ensure their peers know the facts about and how to protect their sexual health.
Sarah is the leader of the Students AIDS Action Team (SAAT)—a student-led initiative at our program in the Serengeti. Using play-based activities and presentations at special events, SAAT has empowered more than 400 students to take control of their well-being.
“We are very proud to see how our small group has managed to change the behaviour of our fellow female students,” says Sarah.
Consisting of a handful of girls from 10 local secondary schools, SAAT educates students and community members on their sexual rights, building the participants’ courage and self-esteem to resist peer pressure and protect themselves. As a result, they exude confidence when speaking to parents and community members about the negative effects of female genital mutilation, a common practice in the region. They also work to reduce early or unwanted pregnancies, which helps keep the girls in school longer, forging the path for their future.
“Many girls are now interested in joining us after attending our sessions,” Sarah said.
Group members are also doing better in school with fewer dropping out overall. With proper care for their education and their health, these girls are growing into smart, healthy, educated and driven adults.