We have three amazing updates concerning our girls programs to share with you this time around!!
#1. Summer Holiday Football Festival for Girls
Following up to our successful first-ever boys' league in Kumba (championship is this weekend!), we are ready to take the next steps in laying groundwork for a girls league' to kick off in 2016. Before we get there, we're planning a summer holiday competition to bring together all stakeholders and continue to promote female atheltics in the country. The event is sponsored by the women's soccer team at College Andre-Grasset, in Montreal, Quebec, Canada and will add water to the seedling we planted last December with our first-every girls' tourney you so graciously supported.
#2. Partnership with Teresa Julian, Master's in Sport for Peace and Conflict Resolution
Teresa has been working on her Masters degree in Tereul, Spain over the last year. In the last month, her thesis proposal to work on sport for girls' empowerment programs in Spain and Cameroon was approved!! Teresa has been a long-time supporter of our work and stayed close to the organization after her sister led our first coaches clinic back in 2011. This collaboration will create an opportunity to apply intustry best practices and revitalize our girls programs in Cameroon. Not to mention, Teresa will be traveling to Cameroon in January to implement her peer-mediation and mentoring program with our girls! We can't wait to have her!
#3. Collaboration with Ministry of Sports and Physical Education on the Future of Girls' Football in Cameroon
We had a meeting earlier this month and graciously accepted an invitation to help develop a football club for young women in Kumba. Based on the mission, vision, and values of CFDP and our demonstrated work ethic, we were selected to help cultivate women's football in the community as part of a national movement driven by the Ministry of Sports and Physical Education and the Cameroonian Football Federation (FECAFOOT). This brings in a new era for women's sports and we are excited to be on the frontlines.
All of this started with your support of our initiatives to empower women in the Southwest Region of Cameroon. What started with some workshops with partners in the US Peace Corps, has grown into a local movement. In no time, it will become a regional and national movement. We look forward to shareing more updates with you!
Many thanks for your support!
"This football tournament is something the town of Kumba - even beyond, to the whole Southwest Region of Cameroon - has never seen before. It is inspiring to see the community support this initiative of CFDP. It has truly elevated women's sports to a new level."
- Divisional Delegate of Ministry of Sports and Physical Education, Meme Division
The crowd gathered around the field at GPS Kumba Town as the referee blew the whistle to kick off the final match in the first-ever Holiday tournament for girls in Kumba. By this point, news of the activities on the playing grounds had spread around town and many ventured to the field to see what all the excitement was about. The girls played 11 vs. 11 for a full 90 minutes, just like the Indomitable Lionesses will do this summer at the Womens World Cup in Canada. Two teams, Kumba Lakers and Brescia FC, emerged to play in the final, from the total of four girls' squads who participated in the two-week long event.
Of course, this tournament was about more than winning. In the weeks leading up to the campaign, the girls trained with their coaches on the "CFDP method" for playing football (soccer). This means incorporating all of the things they work on in practice right into the game: preparation with appropriate warm-ups, life skills topics such as self-respect, confidence, and empowerment, tested by the referee before the start of the match, good sportsmanship, or "sports-womanship" as we like to call it, and fairplay during the match.
When Game Day finally came around, the girls found themeselves in a position to elevate their own status, and that of all women in the community, leading by example and creating awareness about social issues through football. Spectators learned how the girls felt about certain issues through the motivational statements they read before each match.
After 90 minutes, the championship was decided and the Kumba Lady Lakers came out with the win and joyously celebrated victory! In this case, the celebrations were about more than winning a single came. This tournament represents a new level of sporting achievement for young women and girls in Cameroon. What started with your support of this project last year has paved the way for a more engaging approach to girls' empowerment through sport in Kumba in 2015. We remain grateful to our supporters who believe in the power of sport to change the world.
We will welcome four new ladies' teams to our youth enrichment football league in Kumba this season, with competitions officially kicking off in December. Wallace and his team of trainers, Collins, Caroline, and Kama, led Coaches Clinics for our community-based league teams the weekend of October 12-14, which included a few club coaches with girl's teams.Many of the girls registered to play have been enrolled in CFDP after-school programs for the last 1-3 years, and have benefitted from your support of different trainings and worships which we have facilitated in conjunction with the US Peace Corps.Looking ahead to the upcoming competitions and reflecting on the practice sessions happening over the last few weeks, Comfort had this to say about the start of the new CFDP season:"I love football. I am thrilled at the chance to play the game just like the boys do. It's good CFDP is organising this for us. This girls competition will be something to make people in Kumba sit up and take note. We are here and we are driving for our own success."
Worthy of note is the Indomitable Lionesses will join the best female national teams from around the world in Canada in 2015 for the FIFA Women's World Cup! We will be cheering on our role models from the national team as the girls soccer league in Kumba takes root!
We are ecstatic here at the CFDP office - and most grateful - to report to you that our project has been fully funded! Thanks to some generous support during last month’s Microsoft YouthSpark matching day, we reached our goal and will be able to follow up with our young women entrepreneurs in Kumba to see how to best continue to support them in their endeavors.
I am happy to share with you more about another exciting moment at CFDP… a shift in our social and health education initiative is happening. We are preparing to make some bold moves in the months ahead. And we need your help.
From July 29th until August 18th, I will travel around the Southwest and Northwest Regions of Cameroon, working with our staff and partners to revolutionize our approach to community development. We have improved our Youth Enrichment Football League based on lessons learned from the one-year pilot project we ran in Kumba this past year. We’ve found a unique way to take our educational discussions – typical of our after school programs – and infuse them into soccer practices and games with certified Coaches who double as mentors. Of course, as you know with CFDP, girls play too.
In August, we will launch our new youth league model in two communities, Mamfe and Ndu, and lay the groundwork for a regional network to build social infrastructure with youth soccer. It won’t be easy; but our team is ready. The time is now.
Please check out our new project on GlobalGiving. I know that you believe in our mission to leverage the beautiful game as a sustainable platform for community development. If you are inspired and able to give, please don’t hesitate. The time is now. Check out my itinerary for the trip and select a specific activity that you want to fund and let me know what it is. I will be sure to report back to you upon my return. No amount is too small; every little bit helps.
Thanks for your consideration.
Two awesome activities to update you on from the first quarter of 2014.
March: GIRLS ONLY Soccer Tournament to Celebration UN International Womens Day! We succeeded in rallying five teams of girls to participate. It was an awesome weekend of girls' empowerment through soccer. Teams gathered to play friendly matches and learn from mentors like Caroline and Nenne, our two CFDP staff who run the programs for girls and young women and helped organize the event. We are planning an expansion for the summer to complement our boys league. The buzz we created from the activities on the field - and on the sidelines - reverberated throughout the Kumba community making this Womens Day one for the record books.
April: CFDP young women featured at US Peace Corps National Girls Forum. Another fantastic opportunity to showcase the achievements of this program!! Caroline and Adrian, our Peace Corps Volunteer, led the trip to the annual gathering along with one of our most successful young entrepreneurs, Cynthia. Caroline participated in the Strong Women Panel, which featured successful women who shared their story with girls in attendance. Cynthia presented a demonstration of her bead-making techniques and sold some of her necklaces and bracelets to attendees. She brount in 4,000 CFA - which is about $10US. While this may not seem like a lot, it is actually more than some young men make in two full 10-hour days of manual labor. Not a bad take away!
We continue to explore the best way to grow our economic empowerment activities for young women and girls. We want to build a sustainable model to assure long-term impact. Thank you for supporting these activities to date. I can confidently speak on behalf of the girls when I say that these opportunities would not exist without our programs - and without your support.
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