In 2012, Shooting Touch put down program roots in Rwanda and is now serving over 2,000 youth and over 300 women in seven rural communities struggling to rebuild after the 1994 genocide.
With 67% of Rwandans under the age of 25, this population is hungry for knowledge and success but is being starved of the access and opportunities integral to their personal and professional development. With gender equity as a focus to our programming, the addition of women has been monumental to our growth and success.
In order to reverse the cycles of poverty, disease and violence, the Basketball Health Corps is transforming our basketball courts into classrooms where youth, women, and their communities can learn essential health education, develop valuable life skills, and have fun playing the sport of basketball.
The primary goal of the Basketball Health Corps is to put youth and women on track towards a brighter future by marrying the values and skills learned on the court with lessons and experiences that target improved health, citizenry, and employability.
The BHC fulfills the mission of Shooting Touch to use basketball to educate and empower at-risk youth, women and their families in three steps:
Each year the BHC is facilitated by a two Basketball Health Corps Fellows who are recently graduated scholar-athletes that desire to give back using the game they love. Fellows live and serve in Shooting Touch communities for 11 months where they construct courts, build teams and train coaches to run Rwanda’s first and only free youth league for girls and boys. Alongside their team of local coaches, BHC fellows deliver Shooting Touch’s custom designed on/off-court health-education curriculum, Turi Kumwe.
Above: Current BHC 2017 Fellows Matt Barr (Bentley University) and Jordan Dillard (Villanova University).
Below: BHC 2016 Fellow Chloe Rothman (Merrimack College) and current In-Country Program Director.
Turi Kumwe - We Are Together Curriculum
The cornerstone of the BHC is our custom-developed health curriculum, Turi Kumwe, which is Kinyarwandan for “We are Together” and signifies the bond and responsibility players have with their teammates and coaches. Turi Kumwe encompasses the belief that when we work together as one, we can overcome the heavy burdens of gender inequality, lack of proper health education and can ultimately choose the path of our own future.
The Turi Kumwe curriculum is supported by multiple pillars that teach participants relevant preventative health skills like hand washing and malaria avoidance as well as social issues such as healthy relationships, fighting gender norms, saying “NO” to unwanted sex and encouraging protected sex. We compliment the educational components with the competitive lessons that sport so importantly carries and host multiple basketball tournaments, each one focused on a different theme regarding health or social change.
Turi Kumwe Results:
From our most recent Adolescent And Reproductive health unit:
Mutuelle De'Sante Health Care
Training and Hiring Local Coaches
Sparking change from within the community, Shooting Touch staff and BHC fellows train local youth to deliver our programming through clinics and workshops that not only certify them as basketball coaches but also transform them into youth development practitioners. Shooting Touch now has 8 local coaches who are well equipped to coach, referee, implement curriculum, and conduct pre-and-post testing.
Training Research and Development Teams
BHC staff also trained a mobile research team of 12 out-of-school youth to implement BHC’s monitoring and evaluation strategy in order to capture our on and off court impacts and arm us with data for informed decision making.
Female Entrepreneur Pilot Program
While over 60% of Shooting Touch women are unemployed, we are exploring different options to help our adolescent youth and women find employment. Our first initiative took place with training sessions from Sustainable Health Enterprises (SHE) and our Nyamirama women. 72 of our women underwent training and learned the skills for selling menstrual pads, made from banana leaves, to females in our communities.