At Athletes for Hope, we believe in the power of sport to change lives. We know that by empowering girls to become leaders in society, nations change. When women and girls lead, economies become more stable, prosperous and peaceful. It’s one of the many reasons why we’re excited to celebrate the 34th Annual National Girls & Women in Sports Day (NGWSD), which is intended to inspire girls and women to play and be active, to realize their full potential.
Recently, we took this mission globally as we welcomed a delegation of 8 young Tanzanian women, ages 15-17, and 2 coaches to Washington D.C. as part of a two-way exchange program between the United States and Tanzania. In partnership with the U.S. Department of State – Sports Diplomacy Division and World Learning, we designed a program intended to empower women and girls in and through basketball by engaging in educational, cultural and sports-based activities. Some highlights from the trip included:
- Participating in and watching local teams and universities including the Washington Wizards, American University Women’s Basketball, University of Maryland Women’s Basketball and Sidwell Friends High School Girls Basketball
- Attending a service project to honor MLK Jr Day, touring the Library of Congress, the National Museum of African American History and Culture, Capitol Hill and many of D.C.’s iconic monuments
- Visiting Hendley Elementary and participating in PE class, working with students in the classroom and facilitating the AFH C.H.A.M.P.S. Leadership Curriculum after-school program
- Speaking with female leadership and role models at Marsh & McLennan Companies and Girls on the Run
I have confidence because I know who I am and what I will do. I now see myself as a different girl that can bring changes to my community.
The AFH curriculum engaged participants in activity-based learning, discussion and reflection which ultimately culminated in action plan presentations intended to identify and address issues facing girls in their community, school or environment and develop ways sport can be used as a vehicle to solve these issues. Citing the fact that many participants were the only girls involved in basketball at their school, numerous action plans focused on encouraging and activating other girls to pick up a ball, join a team and in doing so, equip them with the tools necessary to become strong leaders in sports and life. In the words of one of our remarkable participants, “I have confidence because I know who I am and what I will do. I now see myself as a different girl that can bring changes to my community.” As seeds of change, our Tanzanian delegation planted a path filled with potential, resilience and reinforced our belief that by changing one person you can transform a village.
We’ll be taking a delegation of U.S. athletes to Tanzania later this year and look forward to continuing our push to activate women and girls to stay in the game!
In the meantime, here are some additional ways to get involved:
- Celebrate NGWSD in your community by checking out these local events.
- Using #NGWSD and
#SistersInSport, we invite you to follow along and tell us why YOU believe in the importance of equal opportunity for all women and girls in sports.
- Include a supporting image! Just click to view/download full-size.