The Ripple Effect Series - Part 2: A Psychological Perspective
When the journey began to create a grassroots sports program for 180 000 girls from low income backgrounds in India, the objective was quite focused: enable girls to play sports. All our strategic planning revolved around this goal. However, this sports journey has affected much more than the lives of these individual girls; it has rippled out to touch the mind and hearts of the community around them. This is Part 2 of a series of articles that explores “The Ripple Effect” of the Naandi sports programs in India.
In Part 1 of the series we explored how the 4000ᐩ women community associates (CAs) leading the learning for 180 000 girls have been positively influenced by the sports programs. The CAs support these girls in their daily education and are now involved in their sports development. The girls' sports development includes a weekly curriculum, a series of Athletics events, and a Football Hub. The CAs are also the coaches, officials, and referees for our programs; learning and being educated in the language of sports for the first time. In this article, we will look at the 'ripple effect' through a psychological lens as GNW Clinical Psychologist Director, Daniela Tomer dives into the minds and hearts of the community around this Naandi Sports program and explores the uniqueness of the Naandi sports revolution.
The Psychologist Perspective - A Bottom Up Model
Daniela Tomer, GNW Clinical Psychologist offers the following psychological perspectives on the ripple effect
Start with the girls
Everything started from the girls, the deep and strong believe that by providing them the opportunity to be active and sporty it will enable a whole new set of possibilities and potential growth. Everything that has been built was tailor made for them, as they are, in their environment. The program was specifically made for them, seeing them and using their surroundings as a positive support was a key. When you accept and celebrate the girls as they are, you empower not only the girls, but also their support systems.
Empower the Leaders
Instead of wishing for these girls to have knowledgeable and experienced female athletes as role models, we empower the women community associates that were already working with them. By engaging these women CAs in the project we focused on the strength of what they already had, and made them valuable partners. They had to believe in the project, and they had to believe in their critical role in it.
Safe and Welcoming Environment
It was a new experience for everyone, it had to be safe, providing both the girls and the CA with the comfort of a secure environment to dare to take risks and be vulnerable. When we say bottom up we mean to describe a state of mind that is very empathetic, seeing the others' needs. It was not about what we would like to teach, it was about what they want to learn and how we can make it relevant in their world. Being seen and celebrated is an essential need of every human being.
Thus, from a psychological point of view, the “bottom up approach” to the Naandi sports programme builds on the wonderful established development program existing, including all participants and leaders, rather than imposing a new foreign system from without. In addition, we will argue that the joy of sports has even rippled out even further than the girls and leaders directly involved in the system. In the next articles, we will explore how the sports program for girls in India has rippled out to affect their families.