Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Male involvement: example from Zambia

After a rather theoretical presentation full of data from the US during the Parallel session on 'Relational Aspects of Gender Equality in Sport: Male-Female Collaborative Advocacy', Mathilda Mwaba from Zambia is asked to take the stage. She is the Executive Director of NOWSPAR, a Zambian organisation that promotes gender equality through sports. She actually comes with much more interesting ‘real’ information about her experiences in challenging gender stereotypes by not only assisting girls and women, but also by starting a dialogue with boys and (young) men.

Mathilda & Mathilda Mwaba, with Kirsten van den Hul

(yes there were men present as well, we just really like this picture)

Every Body Matters

It feels refreshing when Mathilda explains how the organisation is confronted with the reality of the relational context: men want to be involved as well in fighting for greater gender equality! “We cannot avoid including men in our work” says Mathilda. She explains how turning men into supportive partners can have a multiplier effect on challenging violence against girls and women. Sports is a great positive means to accomplish social change. Since “sports is a mirror of society”, such social change within the context of sports can have a positive impact on society at large as well.

A lost opportunity

Altogether, it was a very inspiring presentation. However, during the discussion in the last 30 minutes, little was tried to link Mathilda’s knowledge to the research from the US and Scandinavia. A pity, because here was the opportunity to connect knowledge and ideas about similar problems in different contexts: one of the main benefits of coming together as NGOs, isn’t it? Mathilda came with a clear message, and luckily, her message reached me and through me, it reaches you. More info about NOWSPAR you find HERE.

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