From August 26 to 28, an impactful event took place as BRAVO proudly hosted a mid-term meeting for the “Mermaids for Inclusion” project. This project aims to create a stronger sense of inclusion and unity within societies. Leveraging the power of sports, particularly in the form of finswimming, the project aims to provide a healthy and supportive environment for socially vulnerable groups and local communities to come together and foster interaction.


The primary objective of the “Mermaids for Inclusion” project is to utilize sports as a tool for building cohesive societies. Sports have an inherent ability to transcend differences and unite people. The project acknowledges that sports, especially when tailored to be inclusive, can offer a platform for individuals from diverse backgrounds to meet, engage, and forge meaningful connections.

On first day of meeting a demonstration of finswimming took place at Olympic pool. Partner organizations from four countries, including Bosnia and Herzegovina, convened for this demonstration. Spearheaded by the experienced “KOMET” swimming club from Croatia, which is treated to practical demonstrations of new swimming techniques and innovative training methodologies. Moreover, the event highlighted the manifold advantages of incorporating fins into swimming training, enhancing participants’ proficiency and overall swimming experience.

Also, the mid-term meeting facilitated a discussion among partner organizations regarding the upcoming activities within the project. Collaborative brainstorming sessions focused on how best to introduce finswimming to swimming clubs in each partner country. By pooling their diverse perspectives and experiences, the organizations are working hard to create a comprehensive and engaging approach to present finswimming. This collective effort is vital for ensuring the project’s success in spreading its message of inclusion and empowerment.

 As the project progresses, its impact has the potential to ripple beyond the pool, leaving behind a legacy of social cohesion, empowerment, and progress in the region. Until next time do not forget to #MAKETHEWORLDWONDER.

In the picturesque landscapes of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kosovo, an innovative project, aptly named ‘Mermaids’, aims to introduce and popularize finswimming. Yet, the objective goes beyond simply fostering a new sport. It dives deeper into addressing prevailing societal issues, targeting gender equality, and promoting the inclusion of ethnic and religious minorities in these regions.


**Why Finswimming?**


For the uninitiated, finswimming isn’t just another sport. Athletes wear either bifins or a monofin – a singular fin resembling a mermaid’s tail. This unique design allows finswimmers to move approximately 12-15 times faster compared to traditional swimming styles. Such a captivating aspect makes finswimming particularly appealing for newcomers and facilitates wider dissemination activities.


**Sports as a Catalyst for Social Change**


The transformative power of sports is globally recognized. Sporting activities create healthy, supportive environments, allowing various societal factions to come together, engage, and bond. This is especially pertinent for the Western Balkans, a region grappling with the challenges of integrating ethnic and religious minorities.


‘Mermaids’ capitalizes on the inclusive nature of sports, leveraging it as a vehicle to foster cohesive societies. By partnering with Member States like Croatia and Greece, the project aims to utilize advanced educational tools and transfer established good practices.


**Addressing Gender Norms in the Balkans**


Another crucial facet of the ‘Mermaids’ project is its emphasis on advancing gender equality. The Western Balkans, steeped in traditional patriarchal norms, often limits women’s roles to family and caretaking, sidelining their potential contributions to public life and business arenas. Through finswimming and the imagery associated with mermaids – often strong, independent figures in folklore – this project challenges such stereotypes and advocates for a more balanced societal representation.


**A Ripple Effect on the Community**


While the immediate beneficiaries of the project will be the coaches, athletes, and affiliated organizations, its impact is expected to resonate far beyond. By presenting a practical model that demonstrates how sports can be harnessed for broader societal goals, ‘Mermaids’ aims to inspire the larger community and various stakeholders.


In essence, the ‘Mermaids’ project, through finswimming, is charting a course towards a more inclusive and egalitarian Western Balkans, using sports as its guiding compass. It’s not just about swimming faster; it’s about moving societies forward.

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