Delivering excellent SRHR education in conjunction with a sport programme requires high-quality, trained coaches. When discussing sensitive issues of sexuality, it is recommended that women facilitators are primary trainers for girls. Girls often feel more comfortable opening up in front of women who have gone through similar experiences and share similar anatomy. Furthermore, parents and community often express greater trust in a programme if they know their adolescent girls are not sharing private information with men, who can be seen as a threat. For sport organisations that don’t have females in positions of leadership (coaches) or working directly with girls, this can be a challenge. Programme partners have negotiated this challenge by connecting with social workers, soliciting help from female teachers or community members, or training older female players to deliver sessions.
Men can, however, play a key role in girls’ development around SRHR and can be powerful allies in promoting girls’ development and healthy gender conversations with boys.
Tips: High Quality Coaching
- Recruit Role Models: The power of role modelling cannot be underestimated when it comes to addressing SRHR with girls. When considering facilitators and guest speakers, consider who can help girls model healthy sexuality.
- Off-hours Support: Adolescent girls may need to talk about issues outside of the programme. Make sure they know you are willing to talk with them, or be prepared to recommend someone else they can talk to. It can be really helpful to encourage coaches and facilitators to spend 15 minutes before and after practice at the site, without formal programming. This way, girls know they are available for questions or concerns that might be difficult to bring up in the context of a group.
- Be Professional and Responsible: All coaches, especially young women whose age is close to that of programme participants, need to be highly aware of maintaining clear and professional boundaries at all times. Dress appropriately, use gender inclusive language, concur with organisational codes and policies, and have one-on-one meetings with participants on the sidelines but visible to others.
- Invite Feedback: Regularly convene coaches and facilitators to collect their feedback about how it’s going with SRHR programming and the girls. Give them an opportunity to open up, share and improve programme design and specific sessions.
- Continuing Education: Offer coaches and facilitators opportunities to continue to learn and refresh skills around SRHR delivery. This can be done through workshops, guest visits to other sport and empowerment programmes, formal course work or even visits to clinics and health care providers.