The first day saw our return to Il Polei primary and secondary school, where we held our first sessions last year. These are the two schools closest to the Maasai Cricket Warriors pitch and over the past year the MCW have been coaching at the school continuing to spread the message about the dangers of FGM, as well as developing the cricket within the school.
As its the first day of the project we are continuing to work on our coaching methods for the project. Fusing anti-FGM messaging with cricket coaching is a continual development. As with all Cricket Without Boundaries sessions we have to adapt as we go along; factoring in the numbers of those participating (coaching 200-300 kids at one time is pretty standard) and age ranges. With the FGM project we are also working with differing understandings and awareness of FGM. Each session runs, numbers depending, with at least three cricket coaching stations – focusing on batting, bowling and fielding, and an FGM awareness station where Esther, Hannah, Daniel, Benjamen and Katie speak to a small group of children about the dangers of FGM and gender equality.
Last year when we visited the Il Polei schools the teachers and pupils at the school were developing in their understanding of FGM and cricket. Through the work that the MCW have done since, both the teachers and children are more aware and live to the issues surrounding FGM; not only that it is dangerous but also what happens to the girl if she is not cut? The teachers at the school, if they become aware of a girl who maybe at risk of FGM, are speaking to the girl’s family about the dangers in an attempt to try and persuade the family from having the girl cut. They are also informing the family that they should keep her in school, not be married off, so that she can obtain an education and to value that education for the girl. In the event that this does not work, the teachers are taking the girls as borders at the school so they can still continue their education and be protected.
The continuance of their education is vital. If the girl is not cut, she runs the risk of being ostracised from her family and community. In some areas where this has happened the girls have turned to prostitution as a way of earning a living in order to support themselves. The move by the school to take in girl borders to protect them and provide the girls with an opportunity to learn in order to get a job to support themselves is key. It gives the girls at risk options, where previously they have had none.
Number of schools coached: 2
Number of kids coached: 480