SUPPORTING COMMUNITY, STRENGTH, AND RESILIENCE THROUGH POWERLIFTING IN ZIMBABWE
What does a simple set of weights have to do with changing the world? As a squatting scholar, I was determined to find out.
In my own life, I have experienced and witnessed the power of the barbell and the strength community. I’ve also come across a common love of lifting in a variety of unexpected places through my training while travelling – Kenya, China, Italy, you name it! As a result, my big humanitarian heart was curious as to the role strength training (and powerlifting in particular) could have in assisting and uplifting marginalized communities around the world.
Powerlifting is a sport that requires very minimal equipment, and the sport is accessible for all genders, ages, and body-types, including para-athletes. What could the impact be? Better yet, in what areas could we potentially use the sport in the future for positive change?
This led me to conduct my Masters thesis research in Zimbabwe over the course of this past year. To do so, I connected with the grassroots charity Lift4Life, based in the US. Since 2015, Lift4Life has been in partnership with communities in Zimbabwe. They have been providing funds and support to build gym equipment locally with very minimal resources, to help spread the power of powerlifting. This context and the collaboration with the local community provided a very unique opportunity to understand the reality and experiences of lifting participants and beneficiaries more formally and fully, as well as its potential relationship to accomplish humanitarian objectives.
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Nicola Paviglianiti has a Masters of Science in Humanitarian Action from University College Dublin, a Masters of Arts in Peace and Conflict Studies from Uppsala University, and BSc Honours Specialization in Health Sciences from Western University. She is also a valued member of our TSG family in her Community Relations & Female Athlete Rep roles.