Saumu Furaha Silaha is a 14 year-old Moving The Goalposts (MTG) registered player from a rural village called Malomani in coastal Kenya. MTG runs a fantastically successful TackleAfrica programme that has reached thousands of young women and girls in this region, training girls in the TackleAfrica methodology and running weekly sessions. Saumu joined MTG when she was nine years of age, and joined the MTG TackleAfrica programme as a player a short time after. Four years later, and active as a player in the programme, she was selected as a TackleAfrica coach. Fast forward to today, and Saumu considers herself not just a confident coach/player, but someone able to speak to her community about sexual health issues she could not have imagined. Here, in her own words, she tells us her story.
“I joined Moving The Goalposts Kilifi in 2012 because I saw my fellow girls playing football at the nearby field in my community. I was so impressed by how the girls were kicking the ball while enjoying the game. They were smiling and cheering each other at the field. I went closer and closer and I was impressed with how the MTG girls of my age were playing. At the end of the match I approached one of the players asking her how I can join to be part of MTG players. I was referred to the field leader Malomani who gave me a registration form – I filled it, it was signed by my parents, and that’s how I joined MTG.
At that time, I was still very young and my parents refused to let me play football. But I insisted and convinced them that I saw other young girls playing football in MTG. I explained to my parent what the field leader told me – that I will be playing in the Under 10 categories with my fellow young girls. My parents later agreed and I was very happy to be part of the MTG girls. I played in the under 10 category league in 2012 until 2015.
When I turned 11 years in 2016 I was moved to play in the Under 13 categories and that gave me an opportunity to learn about TackleAfrica drills. I first participated as a player and later I was selected in April 2016 as a TackleAfrica coach after being voted by my fellow players for being active in attending weekly sessions. When I participated in the residential training in April for the first time last year I was very shy to talk in front of other girls. But during this training I was trained on how to become a good TackleAfrica coach. This helped me to gain confidence, and I appreciate the facilitators who were always there to support and encourage me where I had challenges. What I like about TackleAfrica is how I can use football drills to pass HIV messages. This gave me and other players a lot of information we didn’t have before.
I have been facilitating TackleAfrica drills to my fellow girls since May 2016 to date and I enjoy doing it! Due to the regular facilitation and demonstration of the TackleAfrica football topics using the drills on passing, controlling, shooting, long pass, use width to attack, defending and ball possession, it has given me the first ever opportunity to join the MTG United team’s selection in 2017. As a result of my activeness in the field I was also invited again for the TackleAfrica residential training in April 2017 where I refreshed my knowledge and learnt a new topic on HIV Testing and Counseling/Voluntary Counseling and Testing Information. I had the opportunity to see an HIV test kit for the first time and I can now explain to my fellow players how it looks like.
I thank MTG for giving me this opportunity to learn because in the community I come from people don’t discuss such things and if it wasn’t for this TackleAfrica project I wouldn’t have been enlightened with this information at my age. I am confident I have vast knowledge that helps me to make informed decisions and as well as reach out to my fellow players with similar information which they hardly get from their own families.
That’s the power of sport.”
If you’re a coach who’d like to get involved in one of our projects in Africa, and shadow a programme working with young women like Saumu, visit https://tackleafrica.org/about-us/coach-in-africa/ for details.
For more information about our partner, Moving The Goalposts, see www.mtgk.org or find them on Facebook.