This is discussion about Inclusive sports to break down social barriers.
Great to see you guys again. How is the work in Nairobi progressing?
Professor - Freie Universitaet Berlin
Good to hear from you again. The project in Nairobi is going great. We have educated 27 volunteers (including some persons with disabilities) who are now leading all the activities.
Beside weekly recreation days we have now also included outreach programs in which our volunteers lead activities and information meetings in the slum areas. We reach about 200 children with disabilities and 300 community members per month. It is great to see all the results!
In january we will go back to Naoribo to evaluate the program. It would be great if we could pass by to see your program there!
I love the focus on disability and sport - thanks for entering.
I'm curious to learn what research is Stanford conducting for you? Also, are there any plans to connect the work you're doing to global and elite opportunities such as the Paralympic Games or other organizations that support disabled athletes? How are disabled people accomodated outside the realm of sport? Does your organization have influence on their social interactions within the community?
Thank you for your comment. Let me try to answer your questions clearly:
1. Cheri Blauwet from Stanford University (you might also know her as Paralympic medalist sponsored by Nike) will do research with us on the impact of physical activity on girls and boys with physical disabilities in Uganda. To this end, we will conduct a qualitative assessment of physical well being, self confidence, (decreased) sense of stigmatization, and community integration.
2. APAID partners with local sport and development organizations in order to implement projects (as they have experience in organizing sport projects with social goals). To promote sustainability of the project we build a network of disability related organization around our local partner. These organizations include National Paralympic Committees and Special Olympics. These organizations come in with their expertise and get the change to recruit talents from our grass-roots projects. So far, one of our participants in Kenya has been selected for the national wheelchair basketball team.
3. The network of organizations around our local partner also includes organizations focusing on other aspects of life than sport (which is our expertise). In Kenya for example we work, among others, together with Liliane Foundation (focusing on medical and prosthetical help), Handicap International (focusing on legal and social aspect), Association of the Physically Disabled Kenya (focusing on increase in mobility). By working together with other experienced organizations (each having their own expertise) we make sure that our participants also get opportunities outside the realm of sport.
4. An important aspect of each of our projects is to raise awareness on disability issues, as we believe that the negative attitudes towards people with disabilities are often caused by a lack of information. We raise awareness during information meetings, but also during activities within the communities. Many people get curious when they see children with disabilities playing and come to watch. Through sport we can then show that children with disabilities have abilities. The next step is to include these wathcing able-bodied children within the activities. By doing so we aim that the information we give during the meetings and the interaction during the activities positively influences the social interaction within the community.
I hope all the answers were clear for you. Please feel free to ask us anything else you want to know!
Wow - thanks for the fast and very detailed response!
We met with Cheri at the Nike Women's Marathon in San Francisco in October. What an amazing and inspiring athlete - she's such a huge community advocate as well and it's great she's doing so much in this arena. Do you have plans to publish the findings and how far along are you with the research?
Awareness seems to be the biggest barrier for communities to change their perceptions of people with disabilities - do you have plans to measure changes in their attitudes as well?
Cheri is indeed great and we are very happy to work with her. The research in Uganda will only start in February 2009, however the research in Kenya (in collaboration with Paris University) has already started. We collected the baseline data in March of this year and will go back to collect follow-up data in January 2009 (and again in the year after).
We find it very important to publish and present our studies in order to give exposure to this new field of APA and development to the scientific world. As soon as we have the follow-up data and the article written about the Kenyan project, we will submit it to several journals. We have also presented our research so far in seminars and at universities. In July 2009 we will be presenting our work during the International Seminar on Adapted Physical Activity (ISAPA).
Regarding the change in attitudes, we do plan to measure it. As a pilot study we already measured change in attitudes of volunteers before and after the course. In Uganda we will use the same questionnaire to analyze changes in attitude of community members.
We're looking forward for the next questions :)!
I am impressed with your program and I find it great that you partner-up with so many organisations and volunteers.
I am especially interested in the methods that you connect to Volunteers. What kind of methods do you use to recruit them ? Do you see a decrease in the number of of volunteers interested? (the final report I read read that this was the trend)
thanks in advance
Thank you for your comment.
The question you ask is a very important one as for every organization working with volunteers it is critical to try and bind them to your project.
We recruit our volunteers from special schools (teachers), disability related organizations, and from local partner organizations. In this way, we increase the change of keeping our volunteers for a longer period as they have the passion of working with children with disabilities.
We actually connect with the volunteers by letting them own the activities of the project. The volunteers have chosen a representative board among themselves that is making all the decisions about the project. In this way they feel responsible and more attached to the project. We also give them the opportunity to keep on updating their knowledge on adapted sports by porviding them with yearly courses.
Of course some volunteers do sometimes drop out (when they find a job for example), but up to now the number of those interested has only continued to raise.
I hope that I have been answering you question to your satisfaction.
Thanks again for your support!
What a great entry! It is so good when projects use audiovisuals to show their work. You give life and faces to a bunch of words. :)
Women Win would like to invite to join its group and participate in the topics debate. Just go to http://sportforchange.changemakers.com/en-us/group/womenwin and click on join this group.
Thank you for this positive reaction and for the invitation.
Having met Astrid Aafjes and some of Womenwins fellows we are highly aware of the great work you are doing. We therefore already became members of the group as soon as we saw the possibility existed. Unfortunately we weren't able to actively participate up to now as we are in Uganda with only limited access to (very slow) internet. However we are trying to keep updated on the topics debated and hope to be able to join the discussion soon!
Hi Guys - congratulations on a great initiative - you may wish to have a look at our website: www.standupcambodia.net - the CNVLD is an organisation which is developing sporting programs for Cambodians with a disability including a new program which focuses on Cambodian Women with a Disability: "Cambodian Women on the Move" ( and on the move they most certainly are !!)
with best regards from Phnom Penh
Hi to all.. this is very exciting! To my colleagues at APAID... well done and I am rooting for you from Stanford. To all.. Steffi and Pierre very accurately described the research we are undertaking, under guidance of the Stanford School of Medicine, to understand more about the impact of sport and physical activity on youth with disabilities in a developing country setting. It is exciting and, most certainly, we hope to publish results in the coming year, pending the outcome and how things look once the data comes together.
Being in Uganda and working with APAID was truly amazing. I was there in Kampala for two months and, before my eyes, saw the impact of their work. Within only a few weeks of being on the ground, APAID had 60 kids with disabilities engaged in sport, and within only a few weeks after that, we saw observable, very positive changes in these kids' lives. I very, very heartily endorse their nomination.
To all of us out there who understand the power of sport and truly believe in the possibilities of changing the world through sport - cheers! Press on!
Cheri Blauwet, MD
Paralympic Athlete and Gold Medalist - Athletics
I must say this is a great project pity i didn't notice it before the finalist stage and i must say guys you deserve the $5000.
Keep up the good work u doing.
Hi Pierre and Steffi,
Congratulations on being selected a Gamechangers finalist! The work APAID is doing using sport to better the lives of people with disabilities is terrific and much needed. Could you tell us more about your work with girls in particular? Do you have any girl specific programming? Are their any gender specific challenges or needs in working with sport for girls with dissabilities?
Thanks and good luck,
Gamechangers Judges’ Panel
Dear Gamechangers Judges’ Panel,
Thank you for the recognition of our work. I would like to start with answering your last question:
Yes, girls with disabilities do face specific challenges in the community. They experience the so called double discrimination, firstly because they have a disability and secondly because they are girls. Community members held very negative towards girls with disabilities, believing that they are of less value and have less abilities. The major problem girls with disabilities face is the fact that men and boys see them as the easiest target of their sexual lust, resulting in a very high percentage of girls with disabilities who have become victim of rape.
What does APAID do about this situation? First of all, we believe that we can’t change this situation by focusing on the girls only because it is the community members (both male and female) who are holding the negative attitudes towards them and cause the discrimination. We therefore don’t have girl specific program, but we use three strategies within our mixed programmes in trying to improve the situation for girls with disabilities:
1. We bring girls and boys with disabilities together in the same teams or groups. In that way the girls can show the boys their abilities and the boys can get used to and learn to appreciate the girls.
2. Majority of the activities take place within community settings resulting in a gathering of spectators from that community. These people can then see themselves that girls with disabilities have a lot of abilities rather than only disabilities. To even strengthen that message, the trained coaches use these gatherings to bring messages across to the community about the rights of children (both girls and boys) with disabilities.
3. We bring (international) role-models within the activities. These female coaches or APAID ambassadors with disabilities (such as Cheri Blauwet, Paralympic Gold medalist and Medical Doctor) are all strong personalities able to show the girls and the community members that girls with disabilities can have a bright future if they get the support of the community.
With this I hope I have answered all your questions to a satisfying extend. If not, we are more than happy to give you any additional information if needed.
With kind regards,
Pierre and Steffi