PCV 7 April 2010

Brief Project Description:
The Ouild Cats is a softball team at CEG2. This project is to host an official game between the Ouild Cats and the Yovotomey Yaguires, a team made up of Peace Corps Volunteers (PCVs). The game will start at 4 pm on Saturday, May 8th at the stadium. The goals are to foster cultural exchange between the Beninese and American players and spectators and to demonstrate girls empowerment through sports. It will also celebrate the girls’ achievements as a sports team this year.

Prior to the game, written invitations will be passed out to the girls’ parents and other community leaders. The week of the game, there will be one radio transmission inviting the community at large, as well as announcements at the local schools. The Ouild Cats will wear t-shirt uniforms that they helped design. Each girl has contributed 500fCFA towards the cost of her shirt. The teams will play for roughly two hours, with two PCVs acting as umpires. All players will be provided with two-three bags of water during the game.

After the game, there will be a small ceremony, players from both teams and local officials will be invited to share a meal. PCVs will cover their own costs and are not included in the budget. Girls and the local officials will be provided with a plate of food (rice, macaroni, beans and meat or cheese) and a small soda.

Dates of Project: Saturday, May 8th, 2010
Number of People Involved:
The Ouild Cats meet every Saturday morning and practice for two hours. The spend 30 minutes warming-up, 15 minutes doing technical drills and then an hour and 15 minutes scrimmaging themselves. Since October 2009, 62 girls (ages 11-18) have come to at least one practice. At practices, the girls learn concrete softball skills, as well as the American concept of teamwork. This past year there has been a strong focus on encouraging instead of insulting each other. They have learned new words to congratulate their teammates in French and English and that they have more fun when they don’t waste time arguing.

For May 8th game, 30 girls will participate. These are the most dedicated of the girls and most have a 50 percent or higher attendance record. This game is an opportunity for the girls to show their community the sports skills they have gained during the eight months. It celebrates their dedication to the team.

The Ouild Cats are coached by two PCVs (1 female and 1 male), with the female serving as the head coach and the male her assistant. The female PCV has been in charge of planning the event. Two Beninese teachers (1 male and 1 female) also assist with the team when they are available. The lead PCV consulted them regarding this event and they helped price items.

For the Peace Corps team, 15 PCVs will be involved (9 males, 8 females). One male PCV is in charge of managing the Peace Corps team, 13 PCVs (7 males, 6 females) will play and two PCVs (1 female and 1 male) will be umpires. The PCVs will have an opportunity to share American sports culture with girls and spectators and to demonstrate gender equality in sports.

The whole community will be invited for the game via radio and paper invitations. Event planners estimate that 100 community members (men, women and children) will come. The game is intended to be a time of cultural exchange and women’s empowerment between the two teams and with the community members. This is the only continuous girls sports team in the village so it will showcase the sporting abilities of the Beninese girls. It will also be a chance for community members to see American women playing sports, umpiring the game and leading the event. Local officials (7 men and 3 women) will be presented with paper invitations and be invited to eat with the two teams after the game.

Item Number Unit Price Cost
Plate of food (rice, macaroni, beans and meat/cheese) 40 300 CFA 12.000 CFA
Small Sodas 40 300 CFA 12.000 CFA
Bags of Pure Water 80 25 CFA 2.000 CFA
Invitations 25 20 CFA 500 CFA
Radio Announcement 1 1.000 CFA 1.000 CFA
T-shirts 30 750 CFA 22.500 CFA
Total Cost 50.000 CFA

Amount Requested: 50.000 CFA


GAD Coordinator: A great project – also applied for GAD large project. If she is not selected for that, recommend funding.
GAD Finance: This is going to be such a great event! I wish I could be there. Recommend funding.

Closing Report

Brief Project Description:
This project was a softball game between a team of Peace Corps Volunteers and the girls’ softball team. The CEG team has been practicing since January 2009. The game was about two hours long and there was a reception with pictures, certificates and dinner afterwards for players on both teams and community members. The event was designed to highlight the girls’ achievements in sports to the community and to celebrate the girls themselves.

Dates of Project: Saturday, May 8, 2010
Number of People Involved:
29 Beninese girls, ages 11-17
17 Peace Corps Volunteers, (8 girls and 9 boys)
Approximately 250 community members came to watch (men, women and children)

Goals of Project:
1. To highlight girls’ sports in Benin.
2. To celebrate the dedication of the Beninese girls to an activity.
3. To share American sports culture.
4. To show positive gender interactions between men and women playing sports on the same team.

Yes, all of these goals were met. Community members were very impressed with how well the girls played softball. The girls were the focus of the event, and were watched and cheered on by their peers, family members and teachers. The girls felt like they were good at something special, and enjoyed celebrating their achievements. The game was so much fun, that teachers and other community member have also approached the head PCV about starting their own softball team, as well as with other questions about American sports.

Strengths of Project:
The strength of this project was the way it combined gender equality, American culture and fun. It was a wonderful time of cultural exchange between the two teams, but also between the players and the audience. Even though the people watching did not necessarily understand the game, they recognized that the girls had learned how to play and that they were having fun. The event has sparked the community’s interest in girls’ sports, and specifically softball. The girls are already planning on holding more softball games where they play each other and special GAD money wouldn’t be necessary.

Challenges of Project:
One challenge was to make this an event that celebrated the girls and not the important community members watching. It was a balancing act to know who to invite and how many people apart from the players to plan on having food for. It was also important to not step on anyone’s toes, but to maintain the attitude that the reception was for the girls. For example, a few teaches complained that the girls were served their food first.

It will also be a challenge for the girls to continue to play softball once the lead PCV is gone, but two host country nationals have expressed interest in continuing the team. Replicating a big game like this would be hard, but as mentioned in the previous section, the girls are already planning to hold games on a small scale.


Item Number Unit Price Cost
Plate of food (rice, macaroni, beans and meat/cheese) 60 300 CFA 18.000 CFA
Large Sodas 36 450 CFA 16.200 CFA
Small Sodas* 24 350 CFA 7.200 CFA
Bags of “Pure Water” 135 25 CFA 3.375 CFA
Invitations 25 20 CFA 500 CFA
Radio Announcements 4 1.000 CFA 4.000 CFA
Certificates 300 500 CFA 15.000 CFA
Photographer Fee 1 2.000 CFA 2.000 CFA
Photos 60 125 CFA 7.500 CFA
T-shirts** 30 750 CFA 22.500 CFA
Total Cost 96.275 CFA

*60 large sodas were in original budget, but the bar where the reception took place did not put 60 large sodas in the refrigerator, so 24 of them were replaced with small sodas.
**The receipt for t-shirts is for all the t-shirts ordered. This grant is only covering 22,500fCFA of the 60,000fCFA on the receipt.

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