Today, 11th October, is the International Day of the Girl, and so we highlight some of the achievements of the girls and women on our programmes. Our programmes work with both boys and girls but, as we strive for equality, it often means focusing on the particular challenges women and girls around the world face. We start with Diana, a coach from Moving The Goalposts in Kenya, who began her TackleAfrica career at just eleven years old.
Here, Diana leads a discussion about safe sex with her players, asking them particularly to tell her what they’ve learnt about emergency contraception and PEP. This is where players have the opportunity to ask their coaches about HIV and sex, and through the TackleAfrica training she has received, even at just eleven years old Diana is equipped with the knowledge and the confidence to lead these discussions, and also the certainty that her community needs this information.
At eighteen, coach Trastina from Zambia faced challenges when she started to coach boys. But Trastina persisted, and after the first ten weeks of coaching she explained a change came, “I now have full respect from my team. After week four, I sat them down and told them, they should be used to me the same as every other coach that has trained them. I started to become very serious. This I feel brought their respect and I started to feel confident in myself.”
And last but by no means the least, we celebrate not one, but two national team coaches we are proud to have in the TackleAfrica family. Rivals on the pitch but of course friends off, Majidah Nantandah and Mary Adhiambo are the coaches of the Ugandan national team, the She Cranes, and the Kenyan national team, the Harambee Starlets, respectively. Both are fantastic examples of what can be achieved with hard work and a determination to succeed, and what is possible for coaches like Diana and Trastina.
Majidah is a tireless community worker, using her skill and passion for football to improve the lives of young Ugandans. She tells us, “I have committed to developing a grassroots football programme to empower more girls and women in sports. I am also using and teaching how to use football to address development issues, like health and education in our communities.” Majidah is a TackleAfrica facilitator and coach, travelling around Uganda and beyond, training other coaches to use our methodology in the effort to combat HIV.
Mary has been coaching TackleAfrica drills for six years and is a role model to players and coaches alike. Mary spoke to us about the International Day of the Girl, saying “I am grateful to be a TackleAfrica coach and to empower young girls in the community through TackleAfrica workshops. Being part of the Harambee Starlets gives me an opportunity to be a role model to the girls involved in football and other sports.”
We are immensely proud that these women, along with hundreds of others, facilitate TackleAfrica drills week in, week out, working to keep their communities safe from HIV and promoting better sexual and reproductive health for all. We’re grateful to funders who fund women and girls’ programmes, partner organisations who promote equality, and to the many men and boys around the world who support us. Happy International Day of the Girl!
To find out more about this day, visit http://www.un.org/en/events/girlchild/