Equipping Coaches And Facilitators

Having educated trainers is absolutely essential when addressing SRHR with adolescent girls through sport. Coaches and facilitators must not only be themselves educated on all SRHR issues, both locally and internationally, but must be able to dispel popular myths, provide accurate fact-based information, understand where to refer participants for additional services, and be non-judgemental and supportive throughout the process.

Sexuality education, like maths, english, or social studies, is a distinct discipline that requires training and preparation. People responsible for sexuality education should ideally receive specialised training in human sexuality, including the biology and methodology of sexuality education. At a minimum, they should participate in extensive in-service courses, continuing education classes or intensive seminars.128

In addition, coaches and facilitators should have an understanding of and the capacity to help participants create healthy seeking behaviours, build their life skills, develop their leadership abilities, and practice their agency. Effective listeners, compassionate people who are trusted by the girls, and open-minded thinkers are critical. These are essential in creating a foundation on which to address SRHR.

Coach Selection Criteria Checklist
The following checklist of selection criteria can assist in identifying coaches who may be best suited for teaching SRHR and sport content to adolescent girls.

Coaches should, if possible:

  • Have a commitment to working with adolescent girls
  • Have a healthy attitude toward their own sexuality
  • Demonstrate responsible sexual behaviour
  • Be approachable and have a healthy rapport with participants
  • Be non-judgmental; respect others’ values, attitudes, beliefs, and behaviours
  • Respect others’ confidential information
  • Have a positive attitude about SRHR; believe that education about sexuality and HIV/AIDS is important
  • Be sensitive to those who are infected with HIV
  • Demonstrate competence and knowledge in the subject matter
  • Possess good communication skills

The goals of building coach capacities to deliver sport programmes are:

  • Build adolescent girls’ skills in critical thinking and problem solving
  • Strengthen positive norms and behaviours
  • Engage in interactive and challenging examination of beliefs (biases that stand in the way of healthy attitudes and actions)
  • Help change risky behaviour before adolescent girls put themselves at risk
  • Create more safe and healthy environments to be a more memorable, valuable and fun part of adolescent girls' lives

Coaches of Women Win’s programme partners teach through games, role-playing activities and discussions — not lectures. It is crucial that coaches don’t tell adolescent girls how to ask, but help them to make their own decisions, plan for their futures and be accountable for their actions.

Training of trainers or field staff for effective adolescent SRHR programming requires both attitudinal shifts and facilitation skills. Staff need to be comfortable with their own attitudes about sexuality and those of young people as well as with interactive techniques to better engage adolescent girls. Coaches and facilitators should not only receive training on general SRHR issues but should be given nuanced training on how local cultural and traditional beliefs impact adolescent girls’ SRHR in that community.

Useful Example – Realising Youth Development
The ‘YDF Manual for Coaches’ is a tool for realising the youth-development objectives of a sport for development project. Key aspects of the YDF Manual for Coaches include:

  • Raising awareness of the roles and responsibilities of the coach.
  • Providing coaches with the basics of coaching and training aimed at children and youths of both genders, and from different age groups.
  • Supplying coaches with knowledge on how to integrate life skills into football exercises by addressing topics such as fair play, health, the environment, violence prevention and youth participation.

This manual contains a wide range of worksheets, training sheets and tournament sheets to provide coaches with practical methods for integrating the approach of ‘Youth Development through Football’ into football training sessions.

Useful Example – Role Models and Resiliency
The Resiliency Coach’s Guide For a Sport-Based HIV/AIDS Prevention and Youth Life Skills Intervention was developed by Grassroot Soccer (GRS) in partnership with several leading health organisations. GRS seeks to reduce the spread of HIV/AIDS by using role models and peer educators to teach youth about developing life skills and making healthy decisions. Through a series of activities, youth are provided with the opportunity to explore issues related to HIV/AIDS and gain the skills necessary to lead healthy lives. These skills include critical thinking, communication, self-esteem and decision-making, among others. This curriculum and sport-based teaching model was developed in 2003 and aims to build resiliency. It outlines six training sessions that focus on helping young people recognise and practice their resiliency skills. By fostering and developing these strengths, youth will respond appropriately in a stressful situation, and therefore avoid HIV infection and live a healthy life.