Peace Corps Volunteer Lindsay Carrera of Hartland, Wisconsin, is empowering local Ugandan girls and improving their health through sports. Since June, Carrera has been working with 30 secondary school students ages 12-14 to form the region’s first female field hockey teams.
“I played field hockey in junior high and high school, and my best memories are the unlikely friendships and sense of community and pride that came along with being on a strong team,” said Carrera, a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison who has been living in Uganda since 2013. “I created the field hockey teams with the hope of inspiring some confidence and capacity in the young girls of my rural region.”
Carrera has witnessed the harmful effects of gender inequality throughout her service in Uganda, which rates in the bottom 40 percent on the United Nations Gender Inequality Index and many young girls abandon their education once they reach their teenage years.
Along with a fellow teacher, Carrera will coach team practices, which will incorporate educational sessions on gender-based violence and its causes and cyclical nature. By involving a Ugandan counterpart who is also passionate about gender equality, Carrera hopes the project will continue after she completes her service.
“By forming these field hockey teams, I am hoping to get the message to these girls that they have a future, and even if they don’t all become Olympians, they were a part of something special,” Carrera said. “Down the road, I want to incorporate the whole town in a dialogue about gender stereotypes in Ugandan culture.”