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Female African coaches in sport-for-development programs: Making sense of empowerment of adolescent women

By P. Taken


The sport-for-development and peace (SDP) sector claims 'empowerment of women' to be the main objective for their sport programs in post-conflict areas. However, how sport can contribute to this and what the mechanisms of impact are exactly in a context of influential gender/power discourses, are left unmapped. Key role in the empowerment process are the practices of the coaches, who are seen as the actual executors of the programs. The assumption is that how they make sense of empowerment, they subsequently give sense to their athletes. Therefore, this study investigated how coaches make sense of empowerment through their lived experiences and practices. Weick's (1995) 'sensemaking' allowed the researcher to capture micro-realities through the voices of grass-root practitioners. Six female African football coaches were interviewed through email and where possible face to face interviews. The results indicated that these coaches made sense of empowerment in sport programs for women in ways that were dissimilar to those on policy level in the SDP sector. The study ends with a reflection on these differences

Topics: Sociale Wetenschappen, Sport-for-development, empowerment, sensemaking, coaches, gender inequity, post-conflict, decolonization
Year: 2011
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