Lewa's Education Programme Initiates Culture Exchange Through Tag Rugby
One of the Lewa- sponsored schools, Ntalabany, located in the Leparua Conservancy, recently hosted a tag rugby training and competition. Tag rugby proved to be a very effective tool in breaking down social barriers by empowering girls with self-awareness and teaching them to take ownership of their bodies. Because the girls and boys play together – normally a big taboo in the community – many tensions that exist between them were broken down! Through the game, boys and girls were at ease and willing to share and learn from each other.
Leparua School brought in a team for the four-day event and they all trained together, formed smaller teams and gave impressive performances all the way to the finals. Dr. Lucy Obolensky, a friend of Lewa, who has been supporting the education and health programme, carried out the training activity in partnership with Tag Rugby Kenya and Vista Consultants through Team Talk. The children spent time training and learning the game. They also got to air out the day-to-day issues and problems that affect both genders and collectively found harmonious solutions.
Many parents and village elders came to watch the games. The sport and team play allowed the teenagers to be more receptive and interactive in the education sessions and also proved to be a successful way of closely bringing the girls together.
The main lesson the girls learned was that they could play against and with boys and win. This boosted their self-esteem and confidence. We hope this experience will translate into their daily lives where they can feel empowered to denounce unwanted cultural practices - Female Genital Mutilation, early marriage and pregnancy and enforced marriage. We hope the same spirit of self-assertion will result in social change in the community and become evident in academic performance.