Girls & Football SA

The award winning Girls & Football SA encourages girls in South Africa to play football as a source of empowerment, while promoting body ownership, increasing self esteem and using an educational campaign and media to raise awareness on the importance of sport for women. HIV/Aids, teen pregnancy and violence against girls and women are highly prevalent in South Africa. At Girls & Football SA, we believe football is a source of empowerment for girls, equipping them with a strong sense of body ownership and promoting self esteem. Frequently, leadership qualities highlighted by access to sport are allocated solely to the development of boys. This significantly impedes the development o...

Girls & Football SA
14 Darling Street
Cape Town, Western Cape 8001
South Africa
0027 8 266 20740
http://www.girlsandfootballsa.com

Board of Directors

Dewi Spijkerman, Jos A Dirkx, Phumzile v Damme, Fran H Smith, Ilse Pienaar

Project Leaders

Jos Dirkx

Mission

The award winning Girls & Football SA encourages girls in South Africa to play football as a source of empowerment, while promoting body ownership, increasing self esteem and using an educational campaign and media to raise awareness on the importance of sport for women. HIV/Aids, teen pregnancy and violence against girls and women are highly prevalent in South Africa. At Girls & Football SA, we believe football is a source of empowerment for girls, equipping them with a strong sense of body ownership and promoting self esteem. Frequently, leadership qualities highlighted by access to sport are allocated solely to the development of boys. This significantly impedes the development of girls, resulting in an unequal balance in South African society. Inspired by this fact and the need to provide girls with a platform to develop, Girls & Football SA involves the local and global community by encouraging sport as a developmental tool for girls and by raising awareness about important issues that influence the lives of girls in South Africa. We conduct workshops combining life skills training and football to empower girls at a grass roots level. Through production of our award winning documentary, "Can I Kick It?", various Girls & Football SA media channels and social networks, and websites such as SuperSport (where we were among the first to write about women's football) we raise awareness nationally and internationally on women's sport in South Africa. By linking our participants with strong role models such as the players of the South African national women's team, they are inspired to build a better future. We have trained 15 volunteers working in two communities in the Western Cape. During two hour workshops once weekly in two locations with 80 participants, the girls conduct football drills and life skills based education and training. We have experience under our belt and with strategic partners want to make the Girls & Football SA a national movement. Thus, we consistently make it a priority to branch out into more areas in order to be able to run more workshops. Girls & Football SA has been approached by several schools and communities for implementation of the workshops. However, lack of resources and funding pose a challenge in carrying out these goals. An important goal remains securing funds and support. We have successfully combined media, education and sport to develop a unique and comprehensive program specific to girls' development, the only organization in South Africa to do so. At Girls & Football SA, our participants have access to a "safe place" to practice sport which maximizes growth potential and development. Our volunteers receive gender specific training prior to working with the participants. This training was influenced by international organizations such as Women Win and the Girls Action Foundation. In South Africa, 8% of media sport coverage is allocated towards features regarding female athletes and female sport development. This blatant lack of coverage on girls' and women's success in sport negates the important contribution women are making to the field, in turn neglecting the importance of strong women in leadership positions. Girls face immense inequalities in South Africa, even in spaces meant for positive development, like schools. Further, they face institutionalized stigma preventing them from participating in sport. Frequently, girls are sexually harassed/abused and don't receive proper assistance to deal with traumatizing experiences. By equipping our female players with tools to build a strong self esteem we encourage them to believe in their rights. Placing an emphasis on being sensitive towards a girl's needs as she is growing up and participating in sport allows her to feel safe and trusted - two key factors contributing to her further physical and mental development. Football is the continent's most popular sport, which is why we've chosen it as a vehicle to equip girls with skills so readily granted to boys; leadership, being a team player, responsibility, and commitment. By conquering a traditionally male sport residing in a male domain, girls are empowered to know they "can do what boys do". Our dream goals are to ensure all girls have a chance to develop through sport, and have access to a safe space for personal growth. Our aim is to ensure strong body ownership, self-esteem, and to provide the tools required to make healthy life choices that ultimately lead to an empowered life in which girls can reach their full potential.

Programs

Girls & Football SA is built on three pillars; sport, media and education. Each of these three pillars has a project or initiative attached to it, either currently in implementation phase or in development phase. SPORT: We started small through deployment of workshops in two communities catered towards girls' development and education through sport. The two hour life skills based education and football workshops operate on a weekly basis. They commence in a classroom setting and end on the football field. During the first four sessions in a series of six to eight workshops per semester, the volunteers re iterate 'rules' of the program, with an emphasis placed on the workshops being a 'safe space'. This concept is uncommon, but vital to the participants' understanding that they can be themselves, shouldn't be afraid to ask questions, and can voice concerns. Then, we would potentially start a game such as the "Check In" game. One by one the girls say, "Hello, my name is... Today I feel.. I check in" (similarly, we close the workshops with a "Check-Out"). Thereafter, we do empowering role playing games, such as "Interview a Star". Participants approach another girl or a volunteer and ask a series of questions, such as "What do you like to do for fun? What is your favorite book? What is your mom's job?" We encourage girls to ask each other questions about women they look up to, their mother's occupation, or what they think they are good at. The work done in these workshops is outlined in detail in the three guides we've produced, "Girls & Football SA: An Overview", "Girls & Football SA: Girls-Only Spaces", and "Girls & Football SA: Drills and Skills for Coaches". These guides provide tips for female coaches, based on experience gained in the field. We are currently working on our fourth guide, "Girls & Football SA: Making Media Work". After the role playing and life skills based games are done, we go outside to do stretches and play football. Each week, a different girl forms 'her' team. We encourage girls to pick players not only based on skill, but based on other attributes such as how she acts in a team and her sportswomanship. Since March of 2010, we have carried out three main Monitoring and Evaluation processes. In the beginning stages of our project, we conducted a Needs Assessment through key informant interviews with professional female footballers, professional and amateur coaches, amateur female football players, primary school teachers and primary school students. We conducted in depth research on female football on the African continent, and South Africa in particular. Our research granted us an academic award for Best Research Paper for our paper entitled "Football Development for Girls and Women in South Africa: Ruled Out?" at the Interdisciplinary Centre of Excellence for Sports Science and Development in the Western Cape, and confirmed the need for our work. By distributing short questionnaires to participants and volunteers, and through a key informant interview with the Physical Education teacher after the project's initial pilot, we were able to gauge the benefits of the program, how the program is/was experienced by participants, and suggestions for potential changes/improvements. In addition, we have regular contact with the teachers and principal of our partner schools to gain feedback. Furthermore, we engage in consistent discourse with our national and international partners on growing our project, developments in the field of sport development, how to best maximize our limited resources and ways in which to implement feedback successfully. Our program's positive impact is best evaluated through its direct national and international expansion since March 2010. With limited resources, we have grown from working with 2 initial staff, to a team of 6, all currently working on a volunteer basis. We have grown from working with 17 girls in one community, to working with 80 girls in two communities. We have been approached by additional communities interested in direct implementation of our project, even though our current resources do not allow for this kind of expansion. A personal recommendation letter from the Technical Manager and Head of Department of Women's Football at the South African Football Association, Mrs. Fran Hilton-Smith, reaffirms the positive influence Girls & Football SA has been able to make in a very short time. Further, an in-depth M&E carried out over six weeks by two interns at GIrls & Football SA with half of the workshops' participants highlighted the positive influence of the program: 96.6% of participants enjoyed being part of Girls & Football SA very much, 93.1% of participants felt more confident after being part of Girls & Football SA, and 89.7% of participants appreciated a girls-only space to play. Our social media outlets, through both Facebook and Twitter, have grown to a significant amount of followers and fans, with almost 2,000 active international contributors. Our documentary, "Can I Kick It?" has reached the Middle Eastern region through the Beirut Film Festival winning "Best Documentary" - a first to be awarded to a female director and a female led initiative. Furthermore, it's been aired on Cape town TV in South Africa, which primarily reaches township areas. We collaborate with supporters on an international level, with successful sport organizations such as "Sport in Society" (Boston) and established girls' empowerment organizations such as "Girls Action Foundation" (Montreal) taking a direct interest in our work. MEDIA: Girls & Football SA has always placed an emphasis on media in our work. Upon arrival in South Africa, with minimum resources and no existing network of contacts, we phoned the South African Football Association to ask for permission to make a documentary about their journeys: the journeys of female athletes in South Africa. Several phone calls later, we were fortunate to get a hold of the inspiring Mrs. Fran Hilton Smith, who was the Manager of the South African National Women's team at the time, and is currently Technical Manager. She has helped us tremendously in completing the documentary, by graciously granting us time with her players, herself, and linking us with other prominent women in the football field. The documentary has had a massive impact on our organization; it emphasizes the importance of content production work in reaching gender equality; through the stories told by female players about discrimination and challenges faced, but also by highlighting the importance of positive media in making a change in gender inequality. With the documentary produced and screened (which has inspired many great Q&A sessions) Girls & Football SA will continue to emphasize media as a pillar. This is because we've witness the the power of media to change perceptions in various different ways first hand; not only is the viewer affected, but the creator also is.. By this we mean that the girls we interview are empowered and encouraged by being in front and behind of the camera. They place a lot of emphasis in ensuring their story is told correctly and often want to re do a piece, to make sure that what they mean is reflected accurately. We make sure that only the girls who are comfortable to do so participate in our videos, but so far we have not faced any challenges in this regard. Our emphasis in the future will be on short 'webisodes' with empowering messages about girls' and women's development. One thing that really makes us want to be a part of this challenge is the fact that we see so much opportunity for growth, expansion and creation as a result of being one of the 12 projects. We would absolutely exhaust our resources to make sure we're able to develop our program, research, and media strategy. Our goal is to incorporate as many girls as possible in content production; from our workshops (primary direct target) and a world wide audience (secondary indirect target). Being "all the way down" in South Africa, we sometimes feel a bit excluded from the rest of the world - not only because of our seemingly "far" location, but also because the concepts we are aiming to introduce through our work are considered quite "new". Being part of the networks of both the Girl Effect and Global Giving would open so many doors for our work, and it would particularly grant us space to work through the red tape currently withholding us from reaching our full potential. EDUCATION: We are able to reach girls with educational health content through our workshops, and through the tournament we are aiming to host for 500 girls in November (pending funding and approval from a potential donor). However, we have also designed a mobile health campaign through which we want to provide a network of girls in South Africa with important health information they need. Our goal is to roll out an educational campaign, mGirls, in township areas with empowering messages geared towards girls' development and health. The educational campaign combines our first two pillars through use of a text message campaign. By signing up to receive bi-weekly health facts, girls who may not be directly involved in our workshops gain access to health information. SMS campaigns have proven to be exceptionally effective in African countries, such as Uganda, because cell phone usage remains the most prominent means of communication, because of their wide reach, cost effective nature and potential to generate money to aid in reaching sustainability. Especially in Africa, we understand how important it is to connect our network and followers through mobile phones, as internet and data are limited for most. This is in part because internet is too expensive, or because the technology is not in place in areas where it is needed most. Thus, cell phones have a much wider reach. We hope to make our mGirls Campaign a reality.

Statistics on Girls & Football SA

An anonymous donor will match all new monthly recurring donations, but only if 75% of donors upgrade to a recurring donation today.
Terms and conditions apply.
Make a monthly recurring donation on your credit card. You can cancel at any time.
Make a donation in honor or memory of:
What kind of card would you like to send?
How much would you like to donate?
  • $15
  • $25
  • $75
  • $150
  • $250
  • $1,000
  • $3,000
  • $15
    each month
  • $25
    each month
  • $75
    each month
  • $150
    each month
  • $250
    each month
  • $1,000
    each month
  • $3,000
    each month
  • $
gift Make this donation a gift, in honor of, or in memory of someone?