Maldives Rowing Volunteer
Bashi Bola, a traditional Maldivian women's game
One thing I can freely admit to being a little worried about before arrival was what it would be like to teach sports to children in a culture so very different to my own.   Having been given the brief of using rowing to engage and motivate the children and women of the island, I felt slightly overwhelmed, prior to arrival my experience of teaching sport had been for well educated University students, toddlers and young children in upmarket North Yorkshire and Hampshire, only ever with the aim of teaching a skill, never trying to inspire.  However when I thought back about what I have got out of sport in my life and what inspired me – the overwhelming factor was always me!  Not that I am the most inspirational person I know, but actually what made me feel amazing was my own achievements.  Every time I achieved something that always inspired me to try more, achieve more and believe in myself more, hopefully allowing the things I learnt about myself to help me in all areas of my life (my family and friends may well disagree!).  In short I have realised that I should not be worried about trying to inspire people, that either happens or it doesn’t, you have no control over other people’s minds (unless you are Derren Brown), what I can control is trying to  help those I am teaching to achieve targets and get those feelings of inspiration from themselves. 

As for targeting women and girls, I spoke to the children in my biology classes at the local school about sport and exercise and I asked them to keep an exercise diary for two weeks, it proved to be very easy for the girls as not ONE could remember doing any exercise over the two weeks, that included any walk over 20 minutes – out of 30 girls aged 14 and 15.  I am hopeful it wasn't their memories that were the problem but it highlighted to me a desperate need to encourage girls into sport and activity.  However I am not here to change the world, the whole of the Maldives or indeed the whole island and I have very little experience or expertise on the subject but there are some people that do!  

If you are interested in women’s sport, international and national women’s sports development then I would recommend looking at in general and these pages in particular, The Role of Sport in Addressing Gender Issues and Women, Coaching and Development.

Also really interesting are the International Working Group on Women and's  information on women and girls as well as all their other resources and finally The Women's Sport and Fitness Foundation.  I have found all of these really useful and helpful reading (especially as I am currently without TV, unable to watch anything online and without books!).

You can blame this overly thoughtful blog on the weather, we have been having a serious attack of rain stopping play over the past few days, and although I am mostly happy to plough on there is only so long you can stand in the sea in pouring rain and I have the fat reserves to keep warm, many of the children don't and it can get cold in the Maldives (in a storm when you are wet) I promise you.

More lightweight frothy blogs soon!



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