Girls & Football South Africa: Help Us Score!

 
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The Girls & Football SA team has had an incredibly exciting past three months. 

We have continued running our workshops in South Africa, this time working at a school in the Bo-Kaap area in South Africa. We were also able to attend the girls-only football tournaments in South Africa, which were beyond exciting. During these tournaments, we are able to provide participants with a variety of workshops that aid in a healthy development. 

We realize that working in the field of women’s sport requires us to accurately tell our stories. We think telling these stories is important not only to the experience of our participants, but also for the experience of our workshop leaders. We were fortunate to attend the Women Win Digital Story Telling Training in Amsterdam. Here, we met with leading women in the sport for development field. The purpose of the training was to support attendees in learning how to transfer Digital Storytelling skills to workshop participants. Digital Storytelling refers to a short form of digital media production that equips everyday people to share their experiences. 

Being able to identify important personal stories is a very crucial part of development through sport. Being able to translate these stories for both a public audience and for a private audience is also a very valuable skill. Working in a team with women leading in the sport for development field was a true pleasure; hearing the stories of our colleagues was a true inspiration! 

Towards the end of November, the Spar Group and GSport for Girls organized the GSport awards, which celebrates women in sport in South Africa. We were beyond excited to receive an invitation to the award-ceremony and are proud of our board member, Fran Hilton-Smith, who was nominated for the Woman of the Year award. Despite not having received the award this year, we are incredibly proud and honored to have such a powerful woman on our Girls & Football SA team.

 Over the last three years, Fran has been an instrumental player in supporting our work at Girls & Football SA. Having managed 3 national teams and dedicating her life to growing women’s football in South Africa, Fran has been a pillar in the development of female football. She believes that women’s sport and women’s football is crucial to the development of South African women, and she has dedicated a tremendous part of her life to the development of girls and women’s football. 

“Girls & Football SA has delivered great work in combining life skills with football skills,” Fran says. She continues, “Combining life skills with football skills is such a bit contribution to the empowerment of women.” 

She believes that when girls have a stronger sense of self and learn important life skills, they are better equipped to lead healthy and successful lives. 

We want to take a minute to thank Fran, she’s an inspiration to us and to the women and men in South Africa. 

And thank you, for generous donations. We appreciate it very much and look forward to the next year! 


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It has been an exciting past three months for the team at Girls & Football SA, and we closed the quarter with an amazing tournament held on August 9th, 2013, South Africa’s National Women’s Day. This mini-tournament had two important aspects to it; primarily, we took a moment to reflect on the challenges and achievements regarding gender equality in South Africa since the march held by 20,000 women in 1956. The roots of the celebration are found in 1956, when 20 000 women marched in Pretoria to petition against a further strengthening of the pass laws.

The march was regarded as an expression of courage and determination of the country’s women, which represented all races and layers of society, and had delegates from as far away as Cape Town and Port Elizabeth. Current prime minister J. G. Strijdom refused to meet with the women, but was delivered 100 000 signatures that the Federation of South African Women had collected in protest to the further restriction on people’s movement planned by the apartheid government.

During the tournament, we asked the participants to share with us why they loved being a girl. We asked this question in an effort to remind our players about the strength they possess and the goals they can achieve, despite living in a patriarchal society. Want to learn a bit more? Then take a look right here. To hear our players’ answers, you’ll have to wait until October 11th, 2013, which is the International Day of the Girl Child. 

We’re also wrapping up an exciting month where we hosted a series of workshops at St Paul’s Primary School in Bo-Kaap, in the Western Cape. We were pleased to see not only the girls’ football skills improve, but also enjoyed watching their communication skills flourish, not only after the games, but also during. Our participants were soon raising their hands to show they were free to receive the ball. This led to a goal by one of our players, and of course, an abundance of cheering! From the sidelines we even heard, “Did you see that goal? That was very good, I am impressed!” That type of positive reinforcement is not always commonplace, and it was great to see our players encourage one another. 

We also had a fantastic opportunity to work with Microsoft’s Give for Youth Campaign, through which we are raising funds for different girls’ entrepreneurship activities. This has been an amazing opportunity for us, as it allowed us to create engaging new materials that support girls’ skills in entrepreneurship. 

Without your support, we would not be able to achieve our goals, and we appreciate your consistent donations. Thank you very much and we look forward to the last quarter of 2013!

Kind regards, 

The Girls & Football SA team 

 

 

 

 

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Another quarter has gone by and we’re mid way 2013! A perfect time to let you know how grateful we are for your continued support and your belief in the work that we do. It is because of you that we can make a difference in the lives of girls in South Africa.

And how do your donations impact our work? Because of your donations, Girls & Football SA attended the Dlala Ntombazana Soccer for Girls Project 6th Annual Tournament at the Mamelodi Central Sport Grounds in Gauteng on June 1st, 2013. Our Girls & Football SA workshop leaders flew up from Cape Town to run lifeskills workshops with girls at the tournament. The theme is “Making a Change” and with your help, that is exactly what Girls & Football SA aims to do. Though running workshops on healthy lifestyle, self-esteem and peer pressure, skills identification and development, healthy sexuality and abuse, and identity, we hope to have a lasting positive impact on the girls’ lives. Girls in South Africa have so much to offer – just watch our Strive. Score. Succeed clip to be inspired!

We also had the opportunity to attend this year’s Women Deliver Conference on girls’ and women’s health in Kuala Lumpur. Inspired by women from all over the world, we are armed with new ideas to carry out our next series of workshops in the second half of 2013.

GlobalGiving has been instrumental in Girls & Football SA connecting with other organisations to holistically approach development on a grassroots level. Girls & Football SA realises that in order to positively affect girls in South Africa on a large and long-term scale, it is necessary to cooperate with fellow organisations with similar goals, and work and network together to reach them.

Through our work, we know that football is an incredibly powerful tool. FIFA has recently passed a series of anti-racist bills, and recognize this importance as well. Not only does football create the space for fun and a break from life’s stressors, but it gives girls something to focus on and can impact so many facets of their lives. In girls’ only spaces, using football as a platform from which to run lifeskills workshops, girls can be empowered by being equipped with self-confidence, a higher self-esteem and a sense of body ownership. Through football, Girls & Football SA aims to give girls in South Africa the chance to succeed in life, to overcome the many obstacles that stand in their way. Not only are there social and economic factors that impede girls from doing well in life, but also the fact that they are girls counts against them.

Statistics show that girls involved in Girls & Football SA programs immensely enjoy participating, and think that the girls-only spaces created are important. With the help of you, our donors, we can work towards the positive effects being long-term.

Thank you once again for your support. Every time we are able to engage with girls and impact their lives in a positive way, we are making a difference in the future of the girl child. This impact can spread to other girls, through Girls & Football SA and every girl that we reach.


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Girls & Football SA is incredibly grateful for all your generous donations this year. Because of you, we were able to host a very select and successful workshop on Saturday, 02 March 2013, for approximately 40 girls aged between 8 and 13 from Lynedoch Primary School outside Stellenbosch. 

Fives Futbol at the V & A Waterfront, Cape Town, was kind enough to allow us to make use of their facilities. We were two workshop leaders, and five volunteers - two all the way from The Netherlands! The girls arrived bright and early at 9am, brimming with excitement. After a warm welcome and laying down some rules, we warmed up with by stretching. Then, the girls were split into four groups for the football drills. After a much-needed water break, it was time for the life skills workshops. The girls were split according to age - the older girls, aged 12 to 13, dealt with sexuality and safety (a very relevant topic in South Africa), while the younger girls looked at peer pressure and self-esteem. Role plays were used to illustrate scenarios, and the girls shared intimate information in the safe spaces created by the workshop leaders and volunteers. 

After the life skills workshop, it was time for what the girls had been waiting for all morning - the football tournament! The girls back in their four teams, the competition could begin. The matches were fast-paced and exciting, and it was heartwarming, particularly for the workshops leaders, to see how the girls have progressed since the weekly workshops at Lynedoch last year - not only in terms of treating each other with more respect, but also in terms of their football skills. Cheers rang out when goals were scored, and the “coaches” were constantly encouraging and congratulating the girls. Then the winning teams played against each other, and the other two played for third place. The final ended with a penalty shoot-out and the triumphant team celebrated ecstatically.

Then it was time to hand out certificates. The girls had been told right at the beginning of the day that there would be certificates for the best football player, the girl who participated the most in the life skills workshops, and for the girl who showed outstanding leadership qualities. The three girls who received the certificates were most deserving and looked thrilled at having been selected (but we of course stressed that everybody’s contributions were invaluable!) It is particularly important to note the story behind the girl who received the certificate for “Best Leadership Qualities of the Day”. At the end of the sexuality and safety workshop with the older group, two girls asked to stay behind to speak to their group leaders in private. One of the girls had had a bad experience and had some questions about it. She felt uncomfortable to speak directly to the group leaders and battled to make herself understood in English. Her friend translated for her and displayed exceptional empathy and communication skills when doing so. We were in awe of the girl’s courage to speak up, and of the trust and support evident between the two friends. Together with the leadership she showed on the football field, this deserving friend was awarded the certificate. 

We are thrilled to announce that we have started running weekly workshops with the girls from St Paul’s Primary School in Bo Kaap, Cape Town, and hope that with your generous donations we can host such a successful tournament for them in the near future.

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Thank you for your generous donations! We have had an exciting wrap up to this calendar year and are very excited to share some key findings that we have identified during our last quarter. Because of your support, we have been able to spend six weeks of workshops carrying out a survey and programming on various different issues! Our final quarterly report for 2012 highlights the findings of our survey, which focused on issues regarding self-esteem. These findings will help us improve our existing Girls & Football SA programming, and allows us to better meet the needs of our participants going into 2013!

The participants of the workshops and our survey were girls aged to 10 -12, living in Lynedoch, a colored community in the Western Cape. Through our chats with them, we also took this opportunity to focus on helping the participants become aware of opportunities and to learn how to make the most of these opportunities. Through our surveys, we explored the issues listed below:

·       Principles and values

·       Future plans, dreams and aspirations

·       Perceptions of differences between girls and boys

·       Family structures

·       Communities

·       The society as a whole

By aiming to understand the role girls play within their society, we hoped to better grasp how they feel about themselves, and in which areas in their lives they places most value. Sample questions in the survey included:

- How happy a participant felt about herself

- The importance of being honest and reliable

- The importance on making your own decisions

- How much the participants value working in a team

- What it means to spend time with family, and how they perceived their role in their family

- What it means to feel safe

The results of the survey showed us that the participants understand the concept of self-esteem, and that more than 80% of girls believe they play an important role in their immediate surroundings. This is a significant improvement from our first survey carried out in March 2012, when most girls indicated they did not know what self-esteem was. The results also indicated that participants require a safe space and a safe community and society  in order to maintain feelings of self-esteem. A safe society and strong family structure is a very important factor in determining how strong and confident our participants feel.

Spending time with family and being part of their community was regarded as very important for the majority of the participants;  80% placed value on a safe family structure and attributed this to feelings of safety, belonging and self-esteem, should the family structure meet their needs in a positive manner. 

The participants indicated on the survey that the presence from boys and non-relative elders influences their feelings of safety negatively.  

At Girls and Football SA, we promote female football, the role of female athletes and the importance of sport for women in South Africa. Issues surrounding how girls perceive gender and perceptions surrounding gender influence feelings of self-esteem. Most of the girls surveyed believe in the capabilities of girls to play sport, and in their capabilities to achieve other successes in life, such as getting a good job. 39% of the participants indicated they have confidence in their intelligence, but 11% indicated they felt that being intelligent was a masculine trait. 

Both societal structure and the attitudes of boys, in addition to the presence of boys, can at times make the participants feel uncomfortable and influence their self- confidence. In the odd occasion boys were present at the workshops (watching from the side lines, mostly out of interest), we ensured to yell out our first rule, “No boys allowed!”. The emphasis we place on building a safe, girls-only space ensures that we can have honest and open discussions with participants, that are not influenced by outside pressures.

By observing the behavior of some of the participants in the workshops, we were able to see an increase in self confidence, particularly with regard to football skills and leadership skills. During the last few workshops girls dared to take the lead, felt comfortable with given tasks and responsibilities and felt confident to share their football knowledge by explaining things to others.

Although the surveys indicated on a whole that girls felt confident in the present moment, they feel far less confidence regarding their future and goals for their future. 75% of girls believed that identifying their dreams is important, and 55% identified that identifying their skills is important. Only 29% of the girls indicated that they understood the value of developing their knowledge.We feel the focus on self-esteem is an important one, as this equips the girls’ with a feeling of self-worth that will help them stand up for their rights, and work hard to achieve their goals!

Due to your generous donations, we are now better equipped to reflect on and meet the needs of our participants. Thank you for your support in Girls & Football SA, and for helping us provide even better programming for the girls and young women in South Africa. 

We wish you a very happy 2013 and thank you again for your support in Girls & Football SA!

Kind regards, 

The Girls & Football SA Team

 

 

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Organization

Girls & Football SA

Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa
http://www.girlsandfootballsa.com

Project Leader

Jos Dirkx

Cape Town, South Africa

Where is this project located?