Girls' Perspectives on Their Lived Experiences of Physical Activity and Sport in Secondary Schools: A Rwandan Case Study

By Lysanne Rivard.

Published by The Sport Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Sport for Development and Peace (SDP) promotes physical education and sport activities as tools that can empower girls, improve their health, and break down strictly defined gender norms and stereotypes that control and confine girls’ lives. However, as the majority of studies identifying the benefits of girls’ participation in physical activity have taken place in Western contexts, experts call for studies that help to better understand how physical activity is defined, understood, and personally experienced by girls in developing countries where socio-cultural contexts and gender dynamics greatly differ. Consequently, this study seeks to better understand girls’ lived experiences of physical education and sport in Rwanda. Ten Photovoice activities were implemented with approximately 200 girls in five urban secondary schools. The girls photographed what they consider to be their main barriers to physical activity and provided solutions to improve programming. They presented their photographs, discussed the issues raised, and made suggestions to improve their experience of physical activity. Semi-structured interviews using girls’ photographs and captions explored the issues raised by the girls with their physical education teachers, gender and physical education experts, and three ministries. By bringing forward girls’ own challenges and solutions, this study aims to help local programming respond to these issues and to highlight the importance of understanding context specific barriers to sport participation and personal definitions of a successful experience of physical activity.

Keywords: Sport for Development and Peace, Physical and Sports Education, Visual Participatory Methodology, Girlhood Studies, Rwanda

The International Journal of Sport and Society, Volume 3, Issue 4, pp.153-165. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 465.671KB).

Lysanne Rivard

PhD Student and Research Assistant, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Lysanne Rivard is a PhD candidate in the Department of Integrated Studies in Education of McGill University, Montreal, Canada. Her research focuses on girls’ lived experiences of physical education and sport activities in Rwanda and the use of feminist participatory visual methodologies to explore their issues of concern. She is also a research assistant for femSTEP, a multidisciplinary research project which aims to bring forward rural Rwandan girls and women’s perspectives on poverty reduction strategies through the use of feminist participatory and visual methodologies, and a consultant for international development organizations focusing on sports and physical education.