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An initiative to empower youth using sport to create a gender-just society

Author: Shaurya Arun
Copyrights: Martha Farrell Foundation

An initiative to empower youth using sport to create a gender-just society

An initiative by Martha Farrell Foundation and Pro Sport Development is empowering youth and making them leaders to bring a change in the society. The programme aims to create an environment free of violence against women and girls by changing the thoughts of the communities.

Sport is an essential part of daily life. People believe that sport is about competition and physical fitness. But they fail to realise that sport is an effective tool to break barriers and stereotypes.

Pro Sport Development (PSD) is an award winning social enterprise, which thinks beyond traditional lines and uses sport as a tool to empower youth and aid development at the grassroots level in India.

Kadam Badhate Chalo (KBC) is a programme started by Martha Farrell Foundation in collaboration with PSD, which focuses on stopping violence against women and girls. The KBC programme empowers youth and helps them become leaders who can bring a change to their communities by breaking traditional barriers and stereotypes.

Since it’s inception in 2015, KBC has impacted over 2.9 million people through 3,069 Youth Leaders (51% girls) in various locations across India. Over the past years, the programme has educated youth about gender, menstruation, puberty, attraction, peer-pressure and various other topics such as gender-based discrimination and violence to break myths created by the society.

PSD has created a special sports curriculum within the KBC framework that promotes mixed gender sports and increases the communication between boys and girls.

Akash Thapa, a community sports trainer at PSD, said “KBC is beneficial for children as it’s their first experience in organised sport. The KBC framework promotes mixed-gender sports, which bridge the gap between boys and girls created by society

By playing sport together, boys and girls realise that there is nothing wrong in playing or talking to each other. This realisation allows children to question the thinking of their communities and work towards the creation of a gender-just society. 

At the beginning of KBC 3.0 in 2018, I observed that girl and boys maintained a certain amount of distance. Their classes and sports periods were always held separately. KBC’s sports curriculum required boys and girls to play together, that initiated a change in their thought processes. Apart from breaking gender barriers, the sports curriculum allows children to develop their soft skills through sport” recalled Manohar Swaroopa, a trainer from Deoghar, Jharkhand.

Through programmes like KBC, MFF and PSD aim to achieve its goal of creating an environment free of inequalities and violence. In the upcoming year, KBC 4.0 will be implemented in three new locations in Jharkhand, Odisha and Haryana.

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Saturday, June 29, 2019 - 10:18