By Fatuma Abdulkadir Adan - Director and Project Leader
Football in the village
There was a build of the game and each team prepared separately. The biggest trophy is that of being the most peaceful team on and off the pitch. Here in Gar Qarsa Primary school one elder stood out for us all he formed his own team mixing both girls and boys as is required. He coached them even when he has never watched a game of football leave alone playing. Elder Galm is the old generation who cursed when he saw girls lifting their legs but after working with HODI for 6 years now he is a Gender Equality Champion.
What we needed was to create a connection between the head and the heart; he accepted the change but we shared data and the different cases studies of how football is transforming lives and livelihoods. Also sharing why men and women have to be on the same page, seat under the same tree where decisions are made with social – economic and cultural benefits. As men see the challenges faced by women in their lives and in their communities.
They know they have the ability to influence or change the status quo. Often, action starts on a small scale. Through the appointments they make, through their trust and respect for women and through the opportunities they make available or support. For Elder Galm it started with initiating the first ever mixed team through a collective effort and small little actions bringing to life an opportunity for girls and boys to be equal not just on the field but off the field too in real life. Elder Galm is a living legend and an example to be emulated as a champion of SDG Goal 5 through our shoot to score for gender equality.
By Fatuma Abdulkadir Adan - Director and Project Lead
YOUNG GIRL LEADING HER TEAM
"I was so shy at first," she says, "but after some time football changed me. For several years parents did not support girls playing football but in the future, when I'm a mother, I want to support girls playing football."
Ms. Gufu, 14, is the deputy president at her school. She's been brought up by a single mother in a poor family where she is the only girl. She says that "football has changed her life." While Hodi's numbers are impressive, it's seeing our work at play in the lives of individual girls that really illustrates how innovative HODIs approach is transforming lives. The local approach is paying off this included the traditional elders and local imams. After consulting imams on how we could design a football strip modest enough for many of the Muslim girls who want to play, HODI now runs a girl's team in a madrassa, an Islamic school.
It is hard so we still don't believe that we are alive to see that happen. While both FGM and child marriages are illegal in Kenya, local cultures are strong and traditions persist. Our organisation HODI has had to work hard both to argue against these cultures and to work with them. Without all your support it would not have been possible. It would have just remained as a pipe dream. Her approach, called Breaking the Silence, has led to 1,645 girls from 152 villages in the Marsabit region of Kenya playing football over the last 10 years.
Empowering the children to stand up for themselves, by making them more confident and capable on the football pitch, has been a big part of our mission, especially in an area where traditional family and tribal structures mean that children and women often don't have a voice. But despite the challenges Ms Gufu and many more girls like her are making it to the play ground making the numbers to rise from initial 12 to 1,645 girls. We shall be giving un update of the young girl as she rises to be a star in future.
As HODI we train the community to start saving from as little as 10 Kenyan shillings. Most of them are vulnerable, unemployed and depended on relief and the shillings was 3 for education of their children; 2 shillings for health and 5 they save and borrow as loans to initiate small businesses.
The story of this young mother takes us to the village in Marsabit, a quite silent village no one knows what is happening beneath the sleeping giant. Here we meet with the chairlady and the secretary of the village saving scheme they introduce us to the young mother and share updates on the village. They have increased their contribution from 300 to 500 shillings with most as casual labourers.
Literally everyone has benefitted from the loan scheme even the most vulnerable who depended on relief. Gumato a mother of six kids a beneficiary of the three months monthly stipend from HODI supported by GlobalGiving.
None of her children ever made it a high school today she is a proud mother of a boy in form one at a national school. She found herself a day job as a cleaner and pays the loan of 100 usd on monthly basis. They were all trained on business skills and how to take loans repay them after investing in a business or education. This helped generate income and lift her and the family out of poverty. Until next time we pen off here.