Magic Bus, a sport for development in India, uses an Activitiy Based Curriculum (ABC) that uses games to make change. It includes 40 sessions per year – each with a lesson, teach children about education, gender, health, and key issues affecting them. The games excel in building physical, social, and personal skills. Magic Bus engages with its participants over the course of 8 to 10 years, which allows participants to grow and develop alongside mentors, role model coaches and a social peer group in their most important adolescent years.
A well-designed curriculum, or a set of sessions that guide teachers and coaches on teaching a certain skill, idea or lesson, can be indispensible for programmes addressing issues such as life skills, gender-based violence or sexual and reproductive health and rights. A tested and proven curriculum can help in a number of ways.
Firstly, it serves as a guide for coaches and facilitators, giving them flexible and adaptable instructions on how to link games and exercises with life skill lessons as well as how to lead discussions around sensitive topics such as rape, sexuality or reproductive health. This is never an easy task, and having written instructions that guide a coach in asking the right questions and providing factual information is an immense asset.
Secondly, it allows you to expand your programme and train coaches and facilitators quickly, since you have a written lesson-by-lesson guide on how to deliver sessions.
Thirdly, by using the same curriculum across multiple programme sites, you can measure the progress of all of your participants. Since they are all going through similar sessions, based off a single curriculum, you can use standard surveys and other tools to measure what they have learned and then share this progress with donors, funders or the community.
The key is finding the right curriculum for your programme. The ideal is to use something that you can easily adapt to local context, culture and age of participants. It is also important to let coaches know that even the best curriculum is not meant to be read word-for-word in front of a group of girls, but rather, it is more of a guide that can be and should be adapted to the programme and its context.
Determining Length of Girls’ Engagement in Programme
When designing your sport programme and identifying curricula that fit with your objectives, consider the length of time that your programme will engage each individual girl. The longer that you can keep girls in the sport programme, the more impact sport and positive coaching role models can have on that girl. When allotting funding to certain programmes, keep in mind that it might be better to engage 100 girls over four years than 400 girls over a couple of months. Access the capacity of your organisation and the tools it has so that girls can get prolonged exposure to sport and life skill training, whether through several different programmes within your organisation, through leadership roles after their particular programme is over or through participation in tournaments and sport leagues.
Importance of Female Facilitators
Keep in mind that although male coaches can be great role models and effective facilitators for topics such as teamwork or leadership, there is great value in having female facilitators lead sessions and discussion with girls on sensitive topics such as gender-based violence or sexual and reproductive health and rights. Girls will feel more comfortable speaking openly and honestly about these topics with a female and may be shy or afraid to ask questions if there is a male facilitator helping out or even in the room.
Interested in Using a Curriculum? Check out Goal, an award-winning curriculum created by Standard Chartered Bank and the Population Council that integrates sport with lessons on life skills and financial literacy. Also, contact Women Win at Learn@womenwin.org for additional resources.