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“We didn't know what the ideal candidate was for this project until we read her story.”

Meet Estahappy Mariki, a program partner for 2020 Beyond Sport Global Awards Shortlisters for Health & Well-Being, Coaches Across Continents (CAC) and Pathfinder International. Learn more about how Estahappy is changing the game on sexual health and reproductive rights for young women in Tanzania and then Take the Journey with all our Shortlisters at beyondsport.org/journey through December.

As Executive Director of The Girls Foundation of Tanzania (TGFT), Estahappy has been advocating for young women’s sexual and reproductive health & rights (SRHR) in her country for more than a decade. She took part in the CAC Purposeful Play training and her skills, energy and enthusiasm in using it have blown everyone away.

“My organization has peer leaders who mentor other students in SRHR, but it’s only in the classroom. It’s so obvious how we will use this curriculum to incorporate sports in the sessions we do so we will reach more students. I’ll train peer educators in every school!”

Since joining the project, she’s seen and contributed to a big change in her community.

“I’ve seen students who were afraid of opening up on SRHR issues engaging without hesitation through sports which was difficult at first. I have seen students thinking critically when playing competitive games…they get solutions for their own issues without anyone telling them what to do.”

"In Maasai culture it’s very uncommon for boys to listen to girls’ issues. But we are getting there. One Maasai boy who thought a boy can never say menstruation said: ‘I cannot believe I played a moon game [targeting menstrual hygiene] and I enjoyed mentioning menstruation and learning about what girls goes through every month. I am happy am not a girl. I cannot imagine how they handle it.’”

Sexual and reproductive health and rights is one of Tanzania’s most pressing social and health issues. But young people are not free to speak about reproductive health publicly.

"The main challenges for teenage girls and boys in our communities includes poor knowledge on sexual rights, lack of courage to negotiate sex rights, poor culture which facilitates rape and many other sexual abuses for girls.”

"Many young people get wrong information about various issues during puberty which can be corrected simply by a TRUE and FALSE game. We had a lot of myths about gender equality, education and sexual relationships with boys and girls at Kiranyi - 300+ students who were very eager to learn about facts "

Estahappy is on the path to becoming an Accredited Organization in using Purposeful Play to advance the UN GlobalGoals as well as a CAC Accredited Coach.

"All the time as a leader, I think of how to deliver the message to these young people through sports. Make them own the process by supporting and supervising them and being peers for others. There are so many issues hindering students well-being and stopping them from reaching their goals. These can be left on the playground by sharing while playing! My assistants, who are volunteers and youth advocates get it. I am proud of my group!

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