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Play to defeat danger

Safety, a basic human right, is a huge concern for women and for girls growing up in India's low-income neighbourhoods. So much so that parents and elders often put embargos on girls going out of the home altogether. Such delimitations puts serious barriers on girl's education, and their lives as a whole. Magic Bus' work is based on the simple premise that once girls get outside and occupying public spaces to play, they set the ball rolling to bring in momentous changes. The idea is to provide an online, anytime access to the Magic Bus sport for development curricula, so that staff and volunteers have access to the entire pedagogy at their fingertips and are able to deliver the programme to millions of children, better.

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Written by DeletedUser

Provide a short description of your idea

My idea is an online training kit to teach people how to run a sport for development curricula that focusses on building a safe community.

Get a user's perspective on your idea.

I am in the process of getting user's perspective from two women from the Magic Bus programme, Nisha (21 years) and Pooja (18 years). I will upload the results of the Make it Visual exercise with them, tomorrow.
The idea is to build resilient mixed-gender groups of children, upto 50 at a time. We aim for a 50% girls participation. The children learn about gender equity, education, healthy behaviour, and livelihood related inputs, from 2 volunteers. These volunteers, the Magic Bus mentors, are carefully selected and trained from the same communities as the children, to become role models for the next generation.
The learning is based on the Magic Bus Sport for development curriculum, which is a set of over 200 games and activities, each with a specific, developmental message. For example, some messages around gender equity would include:
  • "Girls and boys are equal and have the same potential to grow, learn and have a career."
  • "Girls can be as good at games like football as boys. They are not "weaker" just because they are girls.
  • "Girls and boys both deserve to be treated with dignity and fairness."
Magic Bus' idea works because the core idea is based around the applicable regardless of geography. Magic Bus takes the position that to work on gender issues does not simply mean to work with girls or women, but rather to help people as a whole i.e. both boys and girls, men and women realize that each person is entitled to equal rights to health, education and play. 

In India as elsewhere, sport is seen as a masculine domain and is associated with strength and power, both of which are considered masculine qualities. Historically therefore, the participation of girls in sport activities, especially once they reach puberty, has been discouraged. This is visible at all levels of sport and play in the country. On the one hand, nearly every playground in the country is dominated by boys and men. On the other, only 28% of the Indian Olympic team 2012 comprises of women. It is the lack of encouragement to play sport that prevents girls in India from exercising their fundamental Right to Play.

The restriction on playing is representative of a larger set of restrictions that girls in India are confronted with on a daily basis. Once they attain puberty, many girls in slum communities and in rural India are restricted to their homes, disallowed from going to school and from accessing most public spaces, unless accompanied by elders in the family. For many, this is seen as a preparatory stage for marriage, and girls are trained at home in domestic responsibilities which are seen as their primary focus.

In the last decade there has been a steady commitment to using sport to create platforms in which myths pertaining to women and girls’ skills, abilities and potential can be addressed and debunked. This in turn enables an environment in which gender equity can be cultivated thus empowering both women and men to address issues of gender discrimination and gender based violence. 

Explain your idea in one sentence.

Using the power of an online 'sport for development curriculum', Magic Bus catalyst vounteers deliver the strongly grounded power of play to take over public spaces in low-income neighbourhoods and set the ball rolling towards girl's education, expanded career and life choices.

What is the need you are trying to solve?

The need for the women and girls of this country to have an active social life outside of their homes, a life that enables them to explore their growth, expand their leadership and livelihood potential and lead a full life, free of fear.

Who will benefit from this idea and how would you monitor its success?

More than 250000 children and 8000 young women and men from some of India's poorest neighbourhoods will benefit form this idea. It's success is monitored by regular managemnet information system indicators including number of girls who are on theprogramme, number of girl youth who work as volunteers, number of girls who complete schooling.

Who would be best equipped to implement this idea in the real world? You? Your organisation? Another organisation or entity?

Magic Bus has a proven track record in implementing this idea. The recent Laureus Sport for Good Award, awarded for the first time to a charity, was a validation of the worth of our work.

Where should this idea be implemented?

In low-income neighbourhoods all over India.

How might you prototype this idea and test some of the assumptions behind it?

We can prototype this idea by enabling our community-level volunteers with externally-sourced tablets, in our programme areas in Delhi.

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Photo of Anne-Laure Fayard
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Bidisha, I read about the Magic Bus during the research phase and was really impressed by the idea. Sports as a gender differentiator is really powerful. I was quite surprised when I saw that this was a frequent example provided by kids in the US:
http://theirproblemisours.blogspot.com/2014/03/a-perspective-from-6th-grader-in.html

http://theirproblemisours.blogspot.com/2014/04/first-offline-conversation-among-ninth.html
"I felt disrespected when the boys in my elementary school would not let me play soccer with them"; I would like to "Be on the same athletic team"

Just some anecdotal evidence if you needed any!

To follow on Meena's suggestion, it'd be great if you could clarify who would be the users of the platform (volunteers and coaches) by adding a scenario.

It's great to see so many people ready to help you in Mumbai!

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DeletedUser

Hi Anne, Thank for helping to develop this idea further. In answer to your question, the users of this platform would be our community-base volunteers and their trainers. Right now, these volunteers are given training by Magic Bus , but without an online, 24x7 learning platform, such trainings are expensive and thus growing the idea beyond the 250,000 girls and boys we work with right now, is a bit of a challenge.

We believe that an online access to Magic Bus' sport for development curricula could create serious impact in the area of building a more girl-and-women friendly low income neighbourhood.

This belief is coming from our impact studies, studies that have pointed out that sports for development (as against competitive sport) is an immediate and long-lasting way to help men and boys realise that women and girls are deserving of respect and equality.

Here is what one of the girls on the programme has to say:

"I, Parvati Pujari, am a National Junior Trainer with Magic Bus in Mumbai. My struggle to reach where I am today is a story worth sharing.
My father worked on a construction site as a mason, and my mother looked after me and my six siblings. We didn’t have a home to call of our own. Mostly we stayed in shanty housing in the different construction sites where my father would be employed. After my youngest sister was born, we were nine members in the family and it was getting impossible for us to survive on just one income.
My eldest sister was married off at an early age of 12. If only she had been educated or received proper guidance as I did later in my life, she could have been saved from the clutches of this child marriage.
I was 9 years old when I started attending the Magic Bus weekly sessions, on Wednesdays. The sessions at Magic Bus made me relive the magic of the three-day excursion – we were all playing, learning, sharing and caring. Over the years, we learnt complex things like communication skills and teamwork, and also simple things like hand-washing, which keeps germs away.
Right now, I am awaiting my final semester results. I am considering doing a sports management degree . My parents are still coaxing me to get married while I work relentlessly to fulfill my goals. For me, accepting responsibility for my life, knowing it is only me who can get me where I want to be has helped overcome my challenges."

Read the full story on http://pilelo-ho.blogspot.in/2013/06/incredible-stories-on-empowerment.html

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Photo of Anne-Laure Fayard
Team

Thanks Bidisha for this clarification and for this extra example.
I can see how the platform can be a great tool to provide training to volunteers to become coaches. I'm curious to know what will be the components of the training as from what I understand a lot of training would involve sport and personal relationships (how to work with children).

On another note, you might be happy to see that your program inspired a high school boy in NY: http://theirproblemisours.blogspot.com/2014/04/how-sports-can-empower-girls-and-make.html

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DeletedUser

Yes, this makes us very happy! Hopefully if the curriculum in all its variety, its games, activities, all its lessons and discussion forums is online, it should inspire many more such people, and more importantly, spur action!

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Photo of Anne-Laure Fayard
Team

By the way, if some of the volunteers or participants (girls and boys) in your program want to share their experience with the Magic Bus and how it helped them, I know Melchior would be delighted to post their views on his blog! Thanks.

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DeletedUser

Fantastic idea. Let me ask around.

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Photo of Anne-Laure Fayard
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That'd be wonderful! Keep me posted!

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Photo of Melchior Tamisier-Fayard
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Hi Bidisha, congratulations for making to refinement. As Anne-Laure mentioned I would love to see how some of the volunteers or participants in your program could share their experience / thoughts on the blog I created as part of the idea I posted for this challenge: http://theirproblemisours.blogspot.com/2014/04/how-sports-can-empower-girls-and-make.html

I realize you might be busy but if you can put me in touch with someone in your team. I'd love to be able to engage kids and teenagers involved in the magic bus program to share their views. Thanks!

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Photo of Meena Kadri
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Bidisha: in case you didn't know, Melchior is a ninth grader who lives in New York who has been selected for our Refinement shortlist with this idea: http://www.openideo.com/challenge/womens-safety/ideas/their-problem-is-ours-too He's been collaborating with an NGO in Nepal as he grows the idea – and we'd love it if you might help him connect with Magic Bus volunteers as well. Could be really interesting to see what comes of young people connecting globally through OpenIDEO in the pursuit of social good!

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Photo of Melchior Tamisier-Fayard
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Thanks Meena for the support. Bidisha, it'd be great if you could help me connect with Magic Bus volunteers. Thanks!

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DeletedUser

Hi Melchior, sure, let me connect you you our COO, who can make a connect with our volunteers. Could you share your contact?

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Photo of Melchior Tamisier-Fayard
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Thanks so much Bidisha!
My email is mtamisier-fayard@brooklynprospect.org
I'm looking forward to connect with your volunteers, and hear their thoughts.

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Photo of Anne-Laure Fayard
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Bidisha, here's an example of this global conversation that Meena mentioned and that Melchior is trying to spur: http://theirproblemisours.blogspot.com/2014/05/educating-youths-regarding-their-sexual.html
Thanks in advance for your help!

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Photo of Melchior Tamisier-Fayard
Team

Bidisha,

I thought that it might be useful for you and your COO to see the kind of participation I had in mind. Here are 2 examples from my collaboration with Pushpa from the Bakhtapur Youth Club in Nepal:

http://theirproblemisours.blogspot.com/2014/05/interview-with-pushpa-joshi-from.html

http://theirproblemisours.blogspot.com/2014/05/educating-youths-regarding-their-sexual.html

Thanks!

Spam
Photo of Melchior Tamisier-Fayard
Team

Hi Bidisha, I hope all is well. It'd be great to be able to share the views of teenagers who are going through, or went through your program. Please contact me by email mtamisier-fayard@brooklynprospect.org so that I can set up an account or send them questions to answer for the interview (only 4-5 questions; it won't take long). Thank you!

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