Tanzania team use sports to raise awareness on gender-based violence

On September 3rd, Youth For Change Tanzania held a Sports Bonanza in Dar es Salaam, bringing together organisations working on gender-based violence to advocate against FGM and child marriage with young people...

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In Christendom; there is a blessed hope where the dead will resurrect and join the living for an anticipated rapture of believers to heaven. But, the humanity awaits for the rapture from the ill practice of mutilating the genital parts of women and girls.

Women and girls have the blessed hope of living in communities which will accept and embrace their original and true dignity. The communities which will give them comfort from the troubled old world which holds beliefs of elevating their dignity through the practice of genital mutilation. And, Sports Bonanza provides an ideal moment to drive the communities from such beliefs.

The most renowned African freedom fighter whose face is most recognisable in the world “Nelson Mandela” had once said:

Sport has the power to change world. It has the power to unite people in a way that little else does. It speaks to youth in a language they understand. Sport can create hope where once there was despair. It is more powerful than government in breaking down racial barriers.
— Nelson Mandela

Such powerful words gives a courage to humanity and in particular youth who engages mostly in sports.

Youth forms the majority of world’s population and so they have the power to influence changes. There is always a need to gather together and raise voices with the loudest echo to awake the sleeping decision makers who either intentionally or aimlessly have neglected the need to abolish such harmful practices. Sports bring people from different localities, background and economic set ups together. The language that they use as the medium is only playing which is more effective. Sports influences culture and shape behavior. In return awareness is raised among the communities through such interaction.

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During the bonanza; people get the opportunity to share various ideas and modalities and facilities of the games are always designated to reflect the Anti - Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) movement. Gazebos, flyers, jerseys and t-shirts all are decorated with messages to portray the immoralities associated with the FGM. Always the message remains clear and provides alternatives ought to be followed instead of practicing FGM.

Most of the games played are with exception to the general rules of sports. They reflect a true meaning of energizers rather than games. The games range from soccer, tug of war, cards, dominoes, dancing, and singing. Sports produces ambassadors who are both impliedly and expressly made Anti – FGM ambassadors in their localities. The message they get through different games played and rewards are effective carriers of the message against FGM to their respective communities.

The great inspiration to any movement is YOUTH. Youth For Change in Tanzania have successfully organised, planned and conduct a Sports Bonanza in coalition with other youth organizations as Global Peace Foundation, Youth of United Nations, Restless Development, AFRIYAN, Tanzania Youth Vision Association and Raleigh Tanzania. The Bonanza was a calling station for youth and together we explored the possibilities to bring to an end the evil practice.

Sports has the power to change the communities. Let’s work together and move as the one with focused strategies like SPORTS BONANZA to implement the elimination of Gender Based Violence and Female Genital Mutilation in particular.

The storms will abet if we will not do this to humanity and this will only work when youth will believe in it as strong as I do!

More about the Sports Bonanza hosted by Youth For Change Tanzania can be found in our Facebook page Youth4Change Tanzania and Twitter @Youth4ChangeTz.