Of the groups we have coached over the past 10 days around the country, we have always coached to a mixture of girls and boys. You only have to look at the profile page of the team members on this CWB trip to know that there are members of the team, whose involvement in cricket back in England seeks to promote women in the game, whether it be on a national or local level, playing or officiating. This is something which the team, as the charity name suggests, is seeking to promote in Rwanda.

On the first day of coaching Jules was asked by one of the girls she was coaching; “Sister is there a Rwanda Cricket girls team, and what can I do to be a part of that team?” In case you were wondering, they do have a ladies and girls team, and after speaking to Ange about girls cricket in Rwanda, the contacts were passed on. It has been evident that some of the girls we are coaching out here are on a par with the boys, and as cricket out here is really in its infancy it is the perfect opportunity to get women and girls involved in the game at this early stage so that they form an intrinsic part of the game going forward in Rwanda .

Putting cricket aside for a moment, there is also an important message to be taken away from having girls involved in cricket and attending the coaching sessions with the boys, and that is empowering and giving them an equal footing alongside the boys we coach. More generally, Rwanda has sought to promote the rights of women – just over half of parliament is made up of women MPs, rape is viewed as a serious crime, and women have the rights here to own property and land. In the coaching sessions we do, the team strive towards building on this and this equality is what we are seeking to promoting in our sessions.

In the catching coaching session this afternoon, with IPRC Secondary School, when discussing the A, B, C with a mixture of boys and girls, the boys are informed to be respectful and faithful to their girls. The girls are encouraged to ask the boys to wear condoms or else wear femidoms, and that it is ok to say no if they do not want to have sex. After a discussion that follows these messages, we go into playing a game of cricket. We deliberately mix the groups up, so that girls and boys are batting partners together. During the match one of the boys wants to take a risky run – he is calling to his partner ‘Iruka, Iruka’ (run, run). Down the other end of the field we hear his female batting partner shout ‘Oya Tegereza’ (No wait)! Her partner quickly retreats and returns back to the crease to protect his wicket. The team cannot help but beam with pride that the kids are taking on the messages we are delivering, we are hopeful that this will be taken on in all walks of life. It’s also a great sign for the team that our HIV/AIDs awareness messages are getting through.