Sadili Oval operates a multi-sport programme in the Kibera area of Kenya. Their tennis players and sport teams often travel to away matches and tournaments. They are under a strict mandate that a female coach or programme staff travel with girls.
Travelling for participation in events, tournaments and games should be one of the highlights of sport participation. It is a time to bond with teammates, see new places and test skills learned against external opponents. However, it is one of the times when girls are most vulnerable to experiencing gender-based violence within their sport programme. Programme partners have reported girls being sexually assaulted or abused by coaches and male players, or harassed, assaulted and even kidnapped by strangers. Naturally, this threat can make caregivers reluctant to allow girls to travel with their team.
Ensuring girls’ safety while away from home must be a core consideration of any sport programme. Below are some considerations shared from the field:
- Mandate that an adult female travels with the team at all times
- Discuss potential threats to girls’ safety and collectively create a plan of protection
- Ensure girls are sleeping in a safe place. Do not allow girls to sleep in a place where night time male intrusion is a possibility
- Don’t leave girls unattended or unsupervised in public space
- Don’t allow girls to sleep or travel with other players parents
- Make sure girls know how to contact a coach or female protector at all times
- Send parents explicit information about where their daughter will be, what protections are in place and when she will return