Tuesday, November 1, 2022

In Tanzania, patriarchal cultural beliefs and traditions have led to unequal power relations between men/boys and women/girls and contributed to gender-based violence toward women and girls.

To address this issue and promote healthy behavior, the Adolescents and Children HIV Incidence Reduction, Empowerment and Virus Elimination (ACHIEVE) project has implemented the violence prevention program Coaching Boys Into Men (CBIM). CBIM aims to help adolescent boys through sport reassess notions of masculinity, question prevailing gender inequities, and forge positive behavior. As a result, this promotes healthy relationship skills and values of respect and equality among adolescent boys and their communities, and most importantly, toward women and girls.

In 2022, as part of the CBIM curriculum, ACHIEVE, in collaboration with Futures Without Violence, conducted a training to equip 961 coaches with skills necessary to promote respectful behavior among young athletes and help prevent relationship abuse, harassment, and sexual assault. Cuthbert Nzingula, a teacher at Bulale Primary School in Mwanza City Council, was among the coaches trained under the curriculum. After completing the four-day training, Cuthbert engaged and trained 200 young athletes. Cuthbert views the intervention as an essential tool for advocacy and awareness. He has taken what he learned from the trainings to be a positive role model for his athletes. "I find myself as a strong mentor for my athletes, besides academics, physical fitness, and playing techniques," said Cuthbert. "Now, I have a lot to share with them. I know how to influence positive behaviors and healthy relationships. I also teach them to avoid risky behaviors and prevent HIV/AIDS."

For young athletes such as John, 12, a pupil at Bulale Primary School, CBIM has been life-transforming. "I felt more comfortable asking about HIV and sexuality through the CBIM sessions," said John. "They are a safe space, and the coach is even more friendly than when I used to see him in class." Echoing John's sentiment, Cuthbert added, "since implementing CBIM, pupils are more open to [teachers/coaches], and they share different issues, including reporting abusers and sexual predators."

Through CBIM, adolescent boys are better equipped to take ownership of their actions and demonstrate what it means to treat others with empathy and respect. By continuing to build healthy relationships and adopting a positive mindset, adolescent boys will be encouraged to challenge social norms and create a safe and inclusive community.

ACHIEVE is a five-year (2019-2024) USAID-funded global project whose primary goal is to reach and sustain HIV epidemic control among pregnant and breastfeeding women, adolescents, infants, and children. To reach this goal, ACHIEVE supports OVC and DREAMS service delivery, provides technical assistance to strengthen social welfare systems and improve service quality and reach, and supports capacity development for local partners to sustain services at the community level. ACHIEVE is implemented by Pact in partnership with Jhpiego, Palladium, No Means No Worldwide, and WI-HER

Cuthbert training CBIM athletes at Bulale Primary School.
Cuthbert training CBIM athletes at Bulale Primary School.
Photo Credit: Pact/AidanTarimo
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