Sport offers an adaptable environment
Sport provides a safe space in which to learn new skills and build assets. This plays a huge role in the immense and persistent fear that torments a woman’s psyche in the DRC. She has no real refuge. Programme partners believe that you should offer an environment at the very least. Sport is a neutral and empty space that is filled in with meanings, values, and ideas by the culture in which it takes place and the individuals who take part.
For anyone, anywhere, sport offers a range of scientifically proven physical benefits, including building healthy bones, muscles, and joints; reducing blood pressure and hypertension; improving circulation; and reducing risk for heart disease. Women who have experienced GBV often bear the physical scars of their experience. This can include a host of physical ailments ranging from broken bones to torn genitalia. Furthermore, survivors infected with STIs, including HIV, can experience physical degradation on account of those infections, and some remain weakened by the sexual infections that they acquired. Regular physical activity, in the form of sport, dance, or healing movements, such as yoga, can help address these physical ailments.
It can be a major challenge, but sport programmes are advised to train as many female coaches as possible. In DRC, there is a lack of female coaches. “When a coach is female, the girls are more comfortable.” On a separate programmatic note, it may also be beneficial to have a female coach available, especially when girls are menstruating. It makes them feel more at ease during and after the sport programme.