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Using sport as a catalyst for positive leadership

Copyrights: Connecting Clubs International

Using sport as a catalyst for positive leadership

"The coaches showed us not just how to be better players but that we should be leaders in our schools for equality."

The words above, from a Nepalese school boy, highlight the role that sport can have in driving positive social outcomes and in creating the next generation of change makers. At Connecting Clubs International we have been using cricket as a catalyst for driving gender equality in Nepal for the last three years.

Our aim is simple; through sport we can empower individuals to stand up against inequality and become leaders in their community. Education plays a massive role in the formation of societal norms, be they positive or negative. In Nepal we found that the education system perpetuated social norms that prioritised boys over girls. Society becomes an extension of the classroom, if boys are favoured and given more opportunities in school then this becomes the norm on the street, in the home, and in the workplace.

Sport has the power to lead the way for a different and more equitable future. Our programme, Cricket for Equality, broke down the rigid gender norms in schools by running mixed sessions that placed girls side-by-side with the boys. This approach helped the girls have the confidence that they could compete with the boys on a level playing field. Through innovative training and skills sessions we embed gender messages throughout, challenging behaviours and attitudes and celebrating equality.

Through our programme we are able to reach the next generation of leaders, of teachers, of policy makers; by using sport as the starting point for messaging on gender equality we are able to shape opinions in a new setting. When talking about issues of gender equality, of gender violence, and gender norms, it can be difficult to engage with a young audience, by shifting the ‘education’ from the classroom to the cricket pitch you couch these ideas in familiar and fun setting.

For us, at Connecting Clubs, sport opens up a space in which to embed educational messaging and wider social development issues. The classroom is often associated with hard work, strict teachers, and homework; the cricket field, on the other hand, is a place of fun, of physical activity, and a place to spend time with friends. We use this to our advantage. By being innovative and creative you can drive social change. In doing so you can insure important life lessons are shared equally by boys and girls and that opportunities are given to all. At the very end you hope that by shifting the educational context to the sport field you create the environment in positive leaders come to fore, and that these leaders have the tools to become a positive force for good in their community.  

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Friday, February 1, 2019 - 14:56