You are in this section
Playing football and supporting livelihoods
Community-based organisation, Moving The Goalposts, use football leagues as a pathway to financial training and opportunity to return to school and earn their own financial independence. Using football as a hook to springboard women and girls into the local business community. This is combined with gender equality training and community-based initiatives, aligning to theWorld Health Organisation’s prediction that this combination will ‘hold promise’ for women.
Empowerment, as we know, is complex and is as difficult to define as it is to address. It is through football that girls develop their principle business skills, such as leadership, negotiation and communication. Pathways is about using sport to create new networks that begin as teams and increase opportunities. Girls in higher education contribute to higher levels of labour and... and through the programme, a third of participants said that they can now cater for their own or children's school fees. Food sufficiency has increased by well over 10%, they have seen a nearly 20% increase for clothing and an around 10% increase in housing conditions and household goods. To date, 63 girls received financial literacy training and were supported to enhance or start their businesses.
CREATING OPPORTUNITY AND CHANGE
The field has become a platform for girls to have a voice in community and in government. Girls involved in the football leagues have shared their stories and experiences – to lobby against policies and practices which are discriminatory against girls and women. Through the football leagues, messages of advocacy have been developed on rape, early marriage, abortion, and early pregnancy. One MTG girl received a scholarship from a cabinet secretary after making a presentation during a national event organised in Nairobi on child labour in the county. Education sits at the centre of sport for development and the gradual shift in community attitudes has been led by women and followed by men; in particular parents; boys and community leaders, who have been actively supporting the programme at community meetings and attending matches. This inclusion of males is leading a cultural shift of how women contribute to the wider community.
RETURNING TO SCHOOL
MTG has established support from the community to protect and respect girls’ and women’s sexual and reproductive rights and health choices. As highlighted, kinship is central to community life and the support from males in the community has dramatically increased with 44% more girls receiving support from brothers and 56% more from fathers. Significantly, 66% of out-of-school girls were allowed to return to education and 38% less were forced to have sex.
Playing sport makes women difficult to ignore. Playing the same game as men, by the same rules and undergoing the same training is an understated symbol of strength. Sport has many unique qualities but is in no way the only answer. It brings people together, can impart transferable skills and the rules remain - without exception - the same the world over, but it doesn’t make you money, except in Kenya.