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.
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.
Women and girls from Magic Bus' Mumbai BPT Slum project challenging gender stereotypes by playing a football game in their sarees.
A mother from the BPT slum area with her daughter. Connecting on the playfield redefines the mother-daughter equation in an empowerment-based relationship.
A grandmother from the BPT slum area in Mumbai is the goalie in this tradition-defying game of football in the BPT slum area in Mumbai.
A Magic Bus volunteer has to overcome many challenges to be a mentor, the foremost among them, the safety issues. Filmmaker Ruchi Narain's take on what it means to be a Magic Bus mentor.
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:
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.
- "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."
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.