This document is the final report for the YouthPower Learning grantee, Waves for Change.
Waves for Change, a ‘surf therapy’ program that engages youth, their families, and other community stakeholders such as teachers and service providers, to improve the well-being of young people who have been adversely affected by violence and abuse, aimed to increase female participation and empowerment given past participants had predominantly been male.
Utilizing existing and new data sources on gender, as well new analytical techniques, W4C embarked on a YouthPower Learning grant, with funding from USAID, to uncover ways in which their approach could not only increase female participation, but be gender transformative.
Key grant activities included a gender sensitization of staff and coaches, adaptation of existing monitoring, evaluation, and learning (MEL) tools to include gender, and conduct of a participatory action research (PAR) project to explore baseline gender norms of participants, ways in which these norms impact experience in the program, and uncover pathways to greater transformation.
Core learnings included the following:
● Norms around gender influence how teachers identify which children are in need of the program, as well as how open parents are in allowing their children to participate;
● Inequitable gender norms influence the mental health status of children, including contributing to feelings of anger, resentment, and feelings of worth;
● Inclusion of females in a male-dominated sports program is a positive step, but not enough to transform norms in itself, even with female role models; and
● Institutionalized training of coaches and regular monitoring of gender norms and equitable behavior, especially in a participatory manner, can help a program shift and monitor changes.
These learnings, which may apply to other sports for development and community-based mental health interventions, have resulted in Waves for Change included gender more explicitly in its theory of change and subsequent tools. They are currently undergoing a process of further integrating gender into the psychosocial curriculum with child participants and addressing other identified barriers to providing gender sensitive programming.