Promote gender equality through using less familiar sport to empower girls, develop supportive boys and foster inclusive communities in the genocide affected countries of Rwanda and Cambodia.
A world in which girls have the same opportunities as boys to achieve their fullest potential and participate in and contribute to all aspects of life.
Rooted in the belief that sport can be a powerful catalyst for social change, Kids Play players and coaches live their lives by the Olympic Values:
Excellence: always doing your best, especially when no one is looking.
Friendship: being tolerant, kind to all and listen to one another.
Fair Play: respecting the rules in the game, in life, respect yourself and others.
Gender inequality remains a major barrier to human and community development worldwide. In developing countries, women and girls are consistently denied access to equivalent opportunities their male counterparts receive, and are often prevented from accessing education, engaging equally in society, or participating in sports activities.
In Rwanda and Cambodia, women and girls are not only deeply affected by the persistence of harmful gender norms, but they are additionally burdened with the residual effects of living in countries that have been affected by genocide. During these tragic months, women were subjected to sexual and repressive violence on a massive scale, the effects of which contributed to the country’s pervasive gender gap.
Kids Play International’s Solution
In response to the pervasive inequality between boys and girls, men and women, 3-time Olympian (aerials) Tracy Evans founded Kids Play International (KPI)in 2008, with the mission to use sport to promote gender equity. KPI is grounded in the ‘Fair Play’ value of the Olympic Movement, which champions the idea that sport should be used not just as a physical activity but also as a means of educating people.
After retiring from Olympic competition, Evans was inspired by her mother’s commitment to international medical work and embarked upon what would become a life-changing volunteer trip to Africa. Although she’d participated in sports her whole life and knew intimately the transformative power they held, introducing new, unfamiliar sports to young Africans was eye opening. With no prior knowledge of a sport as it relates to gender or culture, boys and girls began learning on an equal playing field.
The goal of the Olympic Movement is to contribute to building a peaceful and better world by educating youth through sport practiced without discrimination of any kind.
Olympism is best expressed through actions that link sport to culture and education.
KPI’s Strategic Approach
Working in the rural village of Gatagara, Rwanda and now Cambodia, KPI provides a safe place for girls and boys aged 7-18 to participate in educational sports activities side-by-side, with support and encouragement from a caring adult. KPI’s gender equity program, Let’s Play Fair (LPF), is rooted in Olympic values and uses sport and interactive discussions to shift attitudes, behaviors and gender norms between girls and boys. It is based on an understanding that in order to empower girls, boys must play a meaningful role in the process so both genders understand how each contribute to a healthy community.
In the spirit of Olympism, the inclusive LPF program demands teamwork and fosters positive relationships between genders in order to complete activities. Youth participants are provided with the opportunity through sport to intensify supportive peer networks and to engage in more frequent and meaningful contact with peers of both genders, ultimately breaking down gender norms and misperceptions about women’s capabilities.
Let’s Play Fair (LPF) Annual Outputs include: