Colombian Adriana Correa is participating in a three-week long mentoring program through the U.S. State Department’s Empowering Women Through Sports program. While at the WSF, Adriana will learn about the work that we do and implement our tactics into an action plan that aims to improve the physical and mental health of Columbian Border girls. Adriana serves currently under the Colombian Ministry for Foreign Affairs as a Consultant for Border, Sport and Cultural Issues. Read on to learn about Adriana’s second week:
It is day 16th at the Women’s Sports Foundation and the inspiration is starting to pour in. I am tasked with working on an Action Plan as part of the States Department’s Sport Mentoring Program. I decided to build a project for girls based on the GoGirlGo! curriculum from WSF.
My proposed initiative looks to improve the health of girls and keep them involved in physical activity. The program will be held at the borders of Colombia among girls eight to 13-years-old and our results will be dedicated to closing the health and fitness gap between Border girls and the girls of the main cities in Colombia. The sport chosen to complement the program will be Ultimate Frisbee or Ultimate: it’s cheap and no real facilities are needed. They only real thing needed is tons of space which is exactly what we have at the borders of Colombia, most of them rural areas.
Through the meetings I have already had during my time at the WSF, I have become familiar with the WSF's researchers and found out why the WSF is known by its work finding the links between girls and sports. Some of the facts I’ve taken away: it’s been found that sport activity has a positive impact on physical and mental health and it has also shown to have an impact on reproductive health. Girls and women who take part in sport and physical activity have higher self-esteem as well as improved self-perception, self-worth, self-efficacy and so on. Also, sport increases participation and social integration. Some sports programs offer women and girls with opportunities to develop leadership skills. Researchers have also verified links between high school athletic participation and teen pregnancy prevention, which is a pressing issue in Colombia given that 19% of teenagers between 15 and 19 years old are already mothers or are waiting for their first child.
All this essential information will help to frame my project and justify the benefits of sports in girls. The challenge I will face will be to convince my bosses why we should have a program just for girls since the population we work with is all very poor and neither boys nor girls have opportunities to play sports. Though I am sure more time with Women’s Sports Foundation will help me with that!