Home NewsNational Shooting For A Cause: How One Initiative Is Using Sports To Tackle Societal Challenges

Shooting For A Cause: How One Initiative Is Using Sports To Tackle Societal Challenges

by Amon Nuwamanya
4:01 pm

It was fun in Kayonza as Shooting Touch joined residents of Kayonza to mark IWD 2024.

 It was fun and games as Shooting Touch Rwanda, an initiative aimed at promoting the game of basketball among the less privileged, leveraging the power of sport to tackle community challenges, over the weekend joined residents of Kayonza district to celebrate International Women’s Day on the court to create more awareness. 

The international Sport-for-Development Organization in Rwanda, which is behind the Shooting Touch Rwanda initiative, joined residents of Nyamairama Sector, Kayonza district in Eastern Province, to recognize the incredible women of Rwanda and also impact the community through the unifying force of sports. 

The event featured a range of activities including a 5 kilometer “March for Gender Equality,” a thrilling basketball tournament, free health screenings, and community health and gender education, among other things. 

In partnership with the District of Kayonza, Nyamirama Sector, Nyamirama Health Center, and Paper Crown Rwanda, STR’s largest annual event leveraged the power of basketball to support the development of healthier and more equitable communities in Rwanda’s Eastern Province. 

The event showcased Shooting Touch’s core objectives: increasing access to physical activity for youth and women, delivering vital health education and services at the community level, and advancing gender equality in rural areas. 

The event showcased Shooting Touch’s core objectives- increasing access to physical activity for youth and women, delivering vital health education and services at the community level.

This IWD Celebration built upon STR’s year-round sport-for-development programming, amplifying the positive effects of daily basketball training and health education, which creates lasting change for thousands of individuals. 

Each year, Shooting Touch’s flagship event serves as a rallying point for people of all ages across Kayonza District to come together in celebration of women, to advocate for gender equality, and to stand against issues such as gender discrimination, gender-based violence (GBV), and harmful gender stereotypes. 

Distinguished speakers, including representatives from the District of Kayonza and Paper Crown Rwanda, delivered insightful speeches on topics ranging from gender parity to health issues that disproportionately affect women in Rwanda, and how sports can be used as a tool to address these problems. 

“Participating in a day like this makes us so happy – it shows everyone that there are many people who value gender equality,” said Beatrice Nyirajyambere, who represented the district of Kayonza. 

“We are grateful to our partners at Shooting Touch for helping us reach our goals for the development of this community, especially when it comes to serving women and youth,” she added. 

The IWD festivities began with a spirited 5km march, uniting the extended Shooting Touch community to enjoy physical activity and raise awareness about the importance of gender equality. Participants of all genders and ages enthusiastically walked, sang, and danced through the streets of Nyamirama, accompanied by a group of talented female drummers from Rwinkwavu Sector. 

The activity started with 5 kilometer March for Gender Equality among activities organised.

Following the march, attention turned to the highly competitive 3-on-3 basketball tournament at STR’s Nyamirama court, featuring teams from four sectors in Kayonza District, namely; Rwinkwavu, Rukara, Mukarange, and Nyamirama. 

An audience of more than 1,000 community members witnessed the fierce competition, with Rukara Sector emerging victorious in the U18 Boys’ and U18 Girls’ Division titles. Mukarange Sector clinched the U13 Youth title, and Nyamirama Sector took home first place in the Women’s competition. 

Additionally, STR coaches recognized four players with “Most Valuable Leader” awards for their outstanding leadership both on and off the court. 

Throughout the event, all eligible adults in attendance were able to access free health screenings for noncommunicable diseases (NCDs), as well as HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs), delivered in partnership with Nyamirama Health Center. An estimated 300 community members took advantage of these valuable health services. 

“Ensuring access to free STI and NCD screenings at our event was crucial, particularly for women, who face a higher risk of contracting these diseases and infections,” said Christelle Umuhoza, STR’s In-Country Program Director. 

“By working with the Nyamirama Health Center to provide these essential health services, we encourage women to take control of their health and seek timely interventions, ultimately improving their wellbeing and that of their communities.”

Country Director of Shooting Touch, Umuhoza Christelle




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