Girls are often overlooked when it comes to activities for youth, whether in Cameroon or in the U.S. They face numerous social barriers to accessing safe space and time to play and learn with their peers. We believe that engaging sports, specifically soccer, creates opportunity for girls to learn life skills and adopt a positive self-awareness and confidence to help them excel in the classroom, at home, and in the community.
Girls and young women face obstacles that further compromise their health, and personal vitality. The situation facing girls in our U.S. programs, mostly refugees, is not too different from that of our girls in Cameroon. After school, many girls have numerous responsibilities in the home which prevent them from learning and engaging with their peers, like boys do. These societal norms significantly limit the ability of girls to have positive social engagements outside of school and home.
Soccer is the world's game and when played in safe spaces, creates a pathway away from the dangerous activities that young people often otherwise find themselves in. Open Field works to leverage this power of the game of soccer to create positive impact by incorporating vital social and health education lessons right on the field of play. With this project, we will organize a series of soccer sessions - all led by women - to teach girls about positive behaviors, leadership and empowerment.
More than 150 girls and young women will be directly impacted by this program through the educational soccer competitions and sport-based activities. The long-term goal is to improve health and safety and increase life skills in girls and young women who participate. To achieve this, we will increase in knowledge about reproductive health and other issues affecting adolescents, increase self-esteem and confidence, and improve leadership skills in all participants.