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Cover One International

Project Overview

A two-month program using athletics as a vehicle for women's empowerment in rural Honduras.

Identifying the Problem

Billy had been interested in Latin America ever since he was a child, and he had become increasingly intrigued by the region’s “Machismo” culture, which sets extremely rigid gender stereotypes and demands for young Latin American males. Machismo culture associates masculinity with power, strength, and respect, which necessarily relegates women to an inferior status as the weaker sex. Billy wanted to address Machismo culture in in a way that empowered rural Honduran women by encouraging them to participate in activities that focus on character-building traits.

Creating A Solution

As someone whose own values had been greatly influenced by sports, Billy decided to approach women’s empowerment through the ideals most valued in sports: camaraderie, sportsmanship, team work and mutual support. Billy teamed up with six other collegiate athletes to develop the project, which also provided health care seminars for the women and sports activities for children in the community. While on the ground in rural Honduras, Billy and his partners joined with local Peace Corps volunteers to ensure that the project effectively addressed issues pertinent to the women in the community. The project lasted for nearly two consecutive months, and over 50 women attended the program. 

The women who participated in the program developed personal strength and confidence through the athletic activities, healthcare seminars and team building exercises. Billy and his partners wanted to make sure that the program was being conducted as effectively as possible and that it could be replicated and sustained. After each activity, Billy and his partners used surveys and interviews to identify areas of weakness and opportunities for improvement. These findings were then incorporated into a workbook that was later distributed to local Peace Corps volunteers and participants. Overall, the project was viewed as a massive success, and received positive coverage in sports news.

Lessons Learned

Billy reminds other social entrepreneurs to always expect adversity. Things hardly go as planned, but as a leader, it is crucial to remain calm and focused when your project faces expected or unexpected challenges. It is also important to understand the scope of your project and what resources it will require, and to plan accordingly, including coming up with creative ways to fundraise and reaching out to potential partners. 

Funding

Billy and his partners raised $15,000 for this project. The bulk of their funding came in the form of a Kathryn Wasserman Davis Project for Peace Grant. They also partnered with BuyWell Organic Coffee to purchase its coffee at wholesale price and then sell hundreds of the bags of coffee at local grocery stores. Lastly, sporting equipment was donated by Target and Walmart.

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About This Project

HIA Program:

Germany Germany 2007

Developed by:

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