Inspiring future generations of girls through sport in Togo
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GIZ’s ‘Sport for Development in Africa’ (S4DA) Regional Project celebrated the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace (IDSDP) by promoting gender equity through sport in Kara, Togo. Long-time advocate of sport for social change and gender specialist, Dr Marianne Meier of the University of Bern, facilitated the workshop.

Dr Meier: “Sport has the potential to challenge gender stereotypes and to contribute to girls’ and women’s empowerment. Female athletes as well as sensitised sport officials – both male and female – can provide important visible examples that not only inspire future generations of girls and women, but also change social perceptions and gender norms within a whole community in the long run.

The workshop took place on 6 April and was directed at key stakeholders in the implementation of S4DA’s work and the promotion of sport for development in Togo. Participants included coaches, physical education teachers, social workers, NGOs, municipal authorities and regional sport directors. The objective of the workshop was to encourage discussion on gender stereotypes in sport and to strengthen collaboration between civil society and local authorities on the use of sport as a means to contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals.   

Dr Meier shared six recommendations on using sport as a tool to promote gender equity:

  • Promote the fact that all sports are gender neutral
  • Demand and use public spaces
  • Consider the type of sport and make gradual changes
  • Adopt a participatory and holistic approach to communication and analysis (avoid assumptions!)
  • Apply pedagogical and educational methods
  • Be conscious of the potential (and risks) of role models

The workshop built off the success of last year’s IDSDP celebration, a girls’ football tournament organised by Don Bosco at their Lomé sport complex constructed by S4DA. Dr Meier provided expert input on sport and gender as well as on monitoring and evaluation. Her visit is part of a sport and gender mission in collaboration with the University of Bern, which includes a mixed-method base-line study. A follow-up study as well as another capacity building workshop are scheduled to take place in Togo in 2018.

Following the workshop S4DA partners at the town council of Kara organised a mixed-sex football match on 7 April to relay the message of gender equity through sport. It was the first time the town council of Kara had organised such a match, which was well received by local officials and spectators. After the match, S4DA distributed football, basketball, handball and volleyball training sets to a committee in charge of promoting sport for development and coordinating the management and maintenance of sport infrastructure in Kara. The sport equipment will be made available to all those with an interest in promoting social development through sport.


Project Manager