As a Cameroonian, I can testify that gender stereotypes still exist in my country. For example, in my village, Babessi, we are expected to get married at a certain age. When I last went to the village, my relatives were surprised that I wasn't married or haven't had a child at the age of 23. To them, my masters degree would make me a less desirable wife.
In Regions like the North, women are not encouraged to be leaders, and people often say, "a woman's place is in the kitchen" . In order to breakdown such gender barriers, Breaking Ground, in partnership with Coaches Across Continents ( CAC ) organized a soccer program in Ngoundere and Dschang in order to train local cameroonian coaches.
We had three volunteers from CAC, Charlie; the ground coordinator, Mike; a high school teacher, and Lea; a Swiss national, volunteering untill grad school in the fall. They had two training sessions, one in Ngoundere and the other in Dschang and did activities that promoted life skills, taught about HIV/AIDS, coorperation, and leadership.
Participants were encouraged to work like a team. For example, in the game called "problem solver", they were divided into groups of three and formed a circle. Each group was given a ball and had to carry it around the circle without using their hands, and not letting the ball touch the ground. Each group succeeded but used very different solutions. This game was to teach participants the power of teamwork and how to coorperate with each other.
The coaches also taught games like " Run like a girl" where they gave directions like "kick like a girl" or "kick like a boy." At the end, the coaches asked them why they did the activities differently as a girl or as a boy. The game's goal was to examine gender roles and show participants that, whether you are a man or woman, boy or girl, they are equal.
At the end of the week, Breaking Ground was happy to see the creation of girl leaders who will contribute to develop their community, breakdown gender stereotypes and use sports as a development tool.