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ASA celebrates International Women’s Day 2017
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In Atmakur, coaches and volunteers are using games to empower children and to raise awareness about gender equality.

Anantapur Sports Academy (ASA), since its inception, has been working towards promoting girls’ participation in sport as well as achieving gender equality in sport in the rural regions of its focus district: Anantapur. In this regard, celebrating International Women’s Day (IWD) plays a significant role in helping all the stakeholders of ASA to understand the importance of the role of women within society and sport.

This year, ASA planned to celebrate International Women’s Day 2017 with the children and staff of one of its development centres, Atmakur, situated about 30 kilometres away from Anantapur. ASA’s grassroots programmes coordinator, Bala Vamshi, ensured the coaches and volunteers in the centre understood the significance behind celebrating IWD by encouraging a discussion among the coaches and volunteers. The discussion helped the coordinator, coaches and volunteers to identify the specific issues and the inequality women face on a regular basis in their society. The idea was also to ensure all the coaches and volunteers were aware of women’s rights and how to use this knowledge to empower the children they work with.

The celebrations saw close to 100 children and 15 coaches participating in five activities centred around the #BeBoldForChange global campaign. These activities were adapted to the local needs from the IWD curriculum packet shared by Coaches Across Continents. Each activity concentrated on a specific theme aimed at helping children understand their rights, identify gender stereotypes in the society, identify inequality faced by women and girls in society and at the same time the opportunities that are available for both women and girls.

During the event, children were divided into five groups with each group comprising close to 20 children, including girls and boys. The event was planned in such a manner that each group got an opportunity to participate in each of the five activities planned for the day. Post each activity, the coaches gathered the children in a huddle and asked questions to initiate a discussion among children to identify the difficulties faced while playing the game and then to relate the same to situations in their daily life.

Bala Vamshi, speaking about the IWD celebrations, says “It is great to see the children, including girls and boys, enjoy themselves while participating in these activities and at the same time understand and learn about the importance of the role of women and the inequalities present in the society. We saw few discussions where children took active participation and we believe these would help young children to play a key role in bringing the change. These events also help our coaches and volunteers to realise the major role they are supposed to play in the progress of young women and girls in our society through sport. We are already planning on doing similar activities for our children on a regular basis and expand it to our remaining ASA grassroots sport programmes in the district.

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