Community mentors as coaches: transforming gender norms through cricket among adolescent males in urban India

Das, M; Verma, R; Ghosh, S; Ciaravino, S; Jones, K; O’Connor, B; Miller, E Gender & Development, 2015;

This article, by ICRW-ARO, discusses survey and interview findings from a recent evaluation of the Parivartan programme in two urban slum areas of Mumbai.

Community mentors are trained as cricket coaches to transform gender norms among adolescent males. The coaches' training programme become community mentors aimed to:

  • begin the process of transformation in their lives through intensive reflection on inequitable norms that manifest in their own lives
  • instil greater knowledge, skills, and self-efficacy to talk to young male athletes about violence against women and girls
  • influence the attitudes of the members of their cricket teams towards women and girls, challenging harmful norms and promoting respect
  • help to reduce disrespectful and harmful behaviour towards women and girls among the members of their cricket teams

A session for coaching of the players used a specially designed Parivartan kit, consisting of:

The mentors engaged the adolescent boys and young men in conversations on topics of:

  • respect
  • ethics
  • the notion of ‘fair play’
  • gender norms
  • gender-based violence
  • relationship skills
  • consent


Mentors reported many of the boys were:

  • showing much more respect for each other, and towards women and girls, and especially that they were no longer using abusive language
  • smoking or using other drugs were actively trying to quit

Mentors also observed that the programme had:

  • helped them get rid of their addictive habits of smoking and tobacco, and to cut down on alcohol consumption
  • resulted in clear improvements in respect for women and girls, and the behaviours of young men and adolescent boys especially reductions in ‘Eve teasing’ (a common term for sexual harassment in India), and language used towards women

Both adolescents and mentors exposed to the programme reported improvements in positive bystander behaviour and a reduction in perpetration of any violence.


  • Retention in the programme was a challenge. By the time of the 24-month follow-up, about 20% of the baseline respondents had dropped out. Strategies to keep young men and boys engaged and participating in such prevention programming in the community are needed
  • Context specific. This study is limited to slum communities in a mega-city therefore findings may not be generalisable to other rural and impoverished settings, in other parts of the world. The study was unable to explore the different forms of violence perpetration and how the close-knit urban slum communities may contribute to less safety for women and girls


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