CBO Promoting Young Women Participation in Community Development and Decision Making Through Sports
In its continued efforts to empower adolescent girls and young women in rural and urban areas, Girls and Women Empowerment Network Trust (GWEN) held its first Her Sports Day tournament in Seke rural. The tournament whose main objectives was to promote young women participation in community development and decision making was aimed at providing a safe space for young women interaction.
The event saw close to 400 villagers attending, a number which included the 95 young women participants in soccer and netball from Seke, Zengeza and Murehwa.
The event was graced by five male local leaders (Village Heads) and chief Seke’s wife Mai Mambo who was the guest speaker. Other community members composed of mothers, fathers, in-laws and many other villagers attended the event in support of the young women. There was singing and dancing as the games were being played. The event which started off as merely a young women sports tournament rejuvenated the community, brought together villagers for a purely peaceful and social event.
To the testimonies of the village heads and mothers in the community, this was the first big event other than funerals and memorials to unite the community.
Issues that arose during the tournament were the need for more such spaces and events. Villagers took that platform to express their concern over a number of domestic violence and child marriage cases, lack of income among young women and failure by the men and other villagers to recognise the role and importance of young women in the village.
On the other hand the event was an opportune time for them to get to learn and share from each other, discuss issues of gender based violence, how they can work together in income generating projects. They however expressed concern over their inability to make decisions at domestic and community level, pointing out the gap in skills development and training as a reason why many young women are idle with no income as a reason they remain in abusive relationships.
Young girls and women also took that moment to blame traditional conflicts between in-laws and spouses for reducing the value of women and creating tension in the villages.
Sports and safe spaces created by GWEN are helping in reducing idleness, gossiping, prostitution an feuds among the young women, which is a welcome development as this will help channel the young women’ energies to income generation and peaceful existence in homes.