We are delighted to announce a new project between Soroptimist International and Funcacion Moises Bertoni (FMB) to build a sports centre at the Mbaracayu Education Centre, a boarding school in the forest of Paraguay, for indigenous girls living in poverty, aged 15-18 years. The Centre is located inside the Mbaracayu natural forest reserve in the Eastern region of Paraguay and protects 64.4 hectares of interior Atlantic Forest, a highly threatened ecoregion that once covered 55% of eastern Paraguay and was established to conserve the unique endemic biodiversity of the region. The school offers a technical degree in Environmental Science with a mission to transform young rural and indigenous girls into entrepreneurs who are financially self-sustainable, to reduce their isolation and for them to become agents for sustainable development and change in their communities. The COVID-19 pandemic deepened pre-existing inequalities and limitation of access to education and healthy recreational activities and increased levels of gender-based violence and exposure of adolescent girls to abuse.
There is clear evidence that sport has the potential to promote physical and mental health, social integration, self-esteem and skills development and that using sport is an excellent tool for promoting women’s empowerment. This project is to build and equip a sport centre to enhance physical activity for the girls and develop sport at the Centre, with training provided by a Sports and Exercise Science Teacher for 120 girls. Workshops with sport experts will be conducted on different topics based upon a specially designed sport development programme which will have a focus on gender violence, self-esteem, self-confidence, collaboration, nutrition, values etc.
The project will also organise and implement a Youth Environmental Camp at the Mbaracayu Natural Forest Reserve for 40 participants for the ages of 18 – 21. This will be a mixed gender camp with the ratio of 70% females to 30% males. All participants are to be trained in gender equality and violence against women. Indirect beneficiaries will include at least 300 participants attending local sport tournaments.
The objectives of the project include:
- To enhance physical activity, healthy living styles, and develop capacity and new skills through sport, through the building of a sports centre that is fully equipped to provide access to sport recreational activities and skill development.
- To shorten the opportunity gap in the rural area by integrating sport in order to allow students to connect with other local regions and thus breaking the isolation, while promoting the prevention of different types of violence against girls and women and raise awareness through sport.
- To strengthen capacity building and provide skills development in order to raise a new generation of environmental youth leaders and agents of change.
- To train 120 young girls who will be trained on different topics through workshops for preventing gender-based violence, fostering well-being, collaboration and life skills through sport.
- materials – (flyers, graphic designed, painting, podcasts, Etc) will be developed by the students to promote a stop to gender-based violence, promote the protection of the environment, gender equality and well-being through sport as a result of the project.
- Establishment of on new Alliance via sport
The project will run until April 2024 and the total cost of building the centre, equipment and tuition and the Environmental Camp is £33,000
We are excited initiative this project, educating girls in environmental sciences and enabling sport to be used as a means to reduce isolation and promote self-esteem, reduce gender-based violence and empower the girls with skills to achieve their potential.