Girls & Football South Africa: Help Us Score!

Mar 11, 2013

Girls & Football SA Report March 2013

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.


Dec 11, 2012

Girls & Football SA Report December 2012

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




Sep 4, 2012

GlobalGiving's Visit to Girls & Football SA

Girls & Football SA with hosts of Hectic Nine 9
Girls & Football SA with hosts of Hectic Nine 9

Hi, my name is Alexis. I’m a Senior Program Associate at GlobalGiving. I recently had the pleasure of spending an afternoon with Girls and Football SA in Cape Town. Here’s an e-postcard about my visit:

Have you ever been on the set of a television show? Well I never had until Jos Dirkx, the Co-Founder of Girls and Football SA invited me join her and a group of girls for a live recording of Hectic Nine 9, a popular South African children’s show. As a well-respected advocate for girls and women’s rights in South Africa, Jos had been asked to join the show for a special International Women’s Day episode.

I was thrilled to accept Jos’ invitation! Not only was this an exciting opportunity to visit a TV studio, but it was also a great way to learn more about Girls and Football SA’s work in the Cape Town area and to meet some of the girls and teachers that the organization works with.

The TV set was exactly what you would expect! There were bright lights and cameras everywhere, with crew members busily running around and calling into walkie talkies. Jos, who is no stranger to the TV set and live interviews, sat casually waiting for the interview to begin while the girls who had been selected to participate in the show were all abuzz, chatting eagerly about the set and the TV hosts.

The girls’ chaperone, Charmaine, a teacher at Lynedoch Primary School on the outskirts of Cape Town, explained that this was a very proud moment for her students. Back home, parents, teachers, and friends would be watching this interview! 

The show’s host began the interview by asking Jos about Girls and Football SA. Jos explained that the organization provides a safe space for girls to talk about important issues like self-esteem, bullying, drugs, and sex, by hosting workshops and discussions at soccer matches and tournaments. Earlier in the day, Jos had told me that in many cases, these soccer games are the only place where girls could just be girls, where they could feel just as powerful, strong, and deserving as their male counterparts.

As the host turned his questions to the girls, the impact of Girls and Football SA’s programs could not have been more evident. When asked “what do you like about being a girl?” the group of girls responded by explaining that as a girl, they were often underestimated, they liked to prove people wrong. As girls, they explained, they could accomplish anything that boys could.

While watching the interview unfold from the side of the set, I was amazed at the confidence and self-assurance that the girls exuded. Here they were, speaking on TV with thousands of people of watching, and they were able to articulate their pride in simply being girls! I can only imagine the lasting impact this self-confidence will have in these girls’ lives.

Thank you to Girls and Football SA for a fantastic afternoon at Hectic Nine 9!

All the best,

Girls being interviewed by host of Hectic Nine 9
Girls being interviewed by host of Hectic Nine 9
Jos being interviewed by host of Hectic Nine 9
Jos being interviewed by host of Hectic Nine 9
Jul 3, 2012

Girls & Football SA Global Giving Report June 2012

GIRLS & FOOTBALL SA QUARTERLY REPORT    JUNE 2012 The Girls & Football SA team has had an incredibly exciting past three months.

April was a challenging month, as we tackled a devastating and controversial topic in South Africa, the issue of ‘corrective’ rape. In 2008, Eudy Simelane, a star player on the South African national women’s football team, Banyana Banyana, was bru- tally raped and murdered in her township for being a lesbian. Her story shook South Africa, but incidences of violence towards lesbians haven’t decreased. The term ‘corrective’ rape is used to describe when men rape lesbians in what they see as an at- tempt to ‘correct’ their sexual behavior. Lesbian girls or women of any age can be targeted in such an attack. As a result, many girls and women feel it is unsafe to have a ‘different’ sexual orientation. South African society struggles to accept lesbians and gays, despite South Africa’s progressive constitution and the legalization of gay marriage which came into effect in 2006 when the Civil Union Act came into force. As a result of the launch of Girls & Football SA’s ‘Corrective’ Rape and Football video, Girls & Football SA was invited by Al Jazeera to contribute to a debate on the prevalence of rape in the country.

And, speaking of videos, GIrls & Football SA also captured the amazing Dlala Ntombazana All-Girls Tournament in a short video - well worth a watch! (

This month, to honor the courage and determination of South Africa’s women, Girls & Football SA has collaborated with South Africa’s leading retailer Pick ‘n Pay ( , and South Africa’s number one online design contest company,, in the ‘Fiercely Female & Awesome’ T-shirt design campaign. (

In seeking to communicate the power of women everywhere, Girls & Football SA has partnered with these two amazing brands to organize South Africa's first creative campaign in honor of the historic march in 1956 when 20,000 women marched in Pretoria to petition against the strengthening of pass laws.

In addition to raising awareness on the importance of national women’s day, the winning design will communicate the idea that determination and strength have the power to change the world. Check out our website or Facebook page for more informa- tion!

Girls & Football SA was invited to speak at TEDxCapeTown, an incredible event that exceeded all expectations, delivered in- credible ideas and brought together inspiring leaders in the education space in South Africa. The topic of our presentation was the importance of sport for the development of girls and women in economic, social and political spheres. (

Particularly noteworthy was the speech delivered by Dr. Mamphele Rampela, a South African academic, businesswoman and medical doctor who was an anti-apartheid activist. Another incredible speaker was Soli Philander, who turned the tables and spoke about what we can learn from children - his humor, intelligence and honesty made for an engaging and enlightening speech.


Mar 28, 2012

Girls & Football SA Report March 2012

The Girls & Football SA team has been as busy as ever this quarter! We started the year with a strategic planning session that mapped out our game plan for 2012. With new faces and partners on our side, we are able to expand our reach to ensure more girls and young women in South Africa get the opportunity to learn and grow through sport. As South Africa’s first organization to focus on an entirely girls-only space for development, we want to ensure that our programming continues to cater towards young women.

On March 24th 2012, Girls & Football SA attended the Cup of Dreams in Pretoria, South Africa’s biggest all girls tournament, with 26 teams of 18 players between the ages of 10-19. We were invited to fly up from Cape Town to host our safe space workshops, and share our programming with the girls.

In the lead up of the tournament, Girls & Football SA staff consulted the tournament organizers on which specific topics the workshops should focus on to best cater the girls’ needs. Based on the responses, Girls & Football SA staff designed a new series of short programs to be carried out throughout the day.

By keeping workshops short, effective and informative, we were able to reach a large number of girls with our information.

During the tournament, Girls & Football SA set up a tent in which
workshops were held on the following topics;

-       Healthy Life Style
-       Self-esteem & Peer Pressure
-       Skills Identification and Development
-       Healthy Sexuality and Abuse
-       Identity: Girls vs. Boys

We were glad to see that although we were piloting new, controversial workshops about sexuality and identity, the girls’ and coaches responses were very positive. The girls were receptive to and interested in the information we were sharing and actively participated in group discussions.

We created a short baseline study so that we would have a greater understanding of the current knowledge on the topics in question, in addition to  having the possibility to measure the impact of the workshops. The baseline study was carried out at the beginning of the workshop and at the end of the workshop, after the information had been dispersed.

We also carried out interviews with several of the players, with South Africa’s first female match announcer, and with Girls & Football SA board member and FIFA instructor Fran Hilton Smith. Stay tuned; in a few weeks we’ll have an awesome video highlighting the success of the day!

Your generous donations helped us reach girls 200 girls directly, and 700 girls indirectly in an effective and efficient way with information crucial to their development. We are so grateful for your continued support. Without your contributions, we would not be able to carry out our work, and we are very thankful for all of your donations. Please keep supporting our work, and stayed tuned in the exciting months ahead!


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Girls & Football SA

Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa

Project Leader

Jos Dirkx

Cape Town, South Africa

Where is this project located?