UNFICYP holds workshop on gender equality at PeacePlayers International-Cyprus summer camp
On 19 June 2018, UNFICYP’s Gender Advisor and Civil Affairs team held a workshop on gender equality with some 25 young leaders participating in the PeacePlayers International-Cyprus summer camp, which included 60 youth representing both communities in Cyprus, the Middle East, Northern Ireland, South Africa and the United States of America. The event took place in Agros.
The workshop aimed at introducing different gender concepts to participants as well as discussing how gender roles and stereotypes play out in their respective societies. Furthermore, participants provided constructive suggestions as to what they can do to challenge these stereotypes in families, schools and among their peers. Since the theme of the camp was developing leaders and building up an international mentoring programme, those attending the session were older members, also known as mentors.
According to Lauren McAlister, UNFICYP’s Gender Affairs Officer, “the young leaders – both young women and young men – demonstrated tremendous insight into how gender influenced their lives in different ways and were keenly aware of how gender roles are reinforced through so many different mediums in their societies.”
Speaking on behalf of PeacePlayers International-Cyprus, Jale Canlıbalık, Managing Director, said that the workshop was a unique opportunity for participating youth to see how gender stereotypes affect them on a daily basis and how deep-rooted such stereotypes can be. “We have a lot of strong young girls in our programme and here at camp, and it allowed them to express their frustrations they face within their respective communities but more importantly how they are trying to change and break those stereotypes,” added Ms. Canlıbalık.
PeacePlayers International is a basketball initiative that grew from two brothers coaching Catholic and Protestant children in Northern Ireland, to a multi-country programme molding young leaders and breaking down barriers between communities on three continents.
PeacePlayers International began working in Cyprus in 2006, bringing Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot children and teens together to play basketball, but also to break stereotypes, forge inter-communal friendships and build leadership skills.