On October 11th, we celebrated International Day of the Girl by featuring updates from 8 female coaches who attended the East Africa Global Goal 5 Accelerator in Kampala, Uganda this past March. In partnership with Common Goal and Women Win, SWB and 7 sports for development organizations made commitments towards gender equity on the pitch, on the sidelines, in their organizations, and in the media. After the Accelerator, each coach submitted a Coach Action Plan that aimed to increase girls’ engagement in football on the pitch. Since submitting the proposal, the coaches have been hard at work implementing their projects in their community. These photos and brief project descriptions below capture some of the incredible work the coaches have already accomplished.
Keep scrolling to read more about each coach and her Coach Action Plan!
Coach Tibu & Moving the Goalposts
Football has always been a passion for Tibu, a coach for Moving the Goalposts in Kilifi, Kenya. She says that through coaching she “wants to nurture the talent of young girls to enable them to achieve their career goals of becoming professional football players.”
For her Coach Action Plan, Tibu will conduct a 3-day workshop for 32 coaches in the coastal region of Kenya. Through this training, Tibu hopes to create more role models for local girls and give them a higher chance of playing competitive football.
When asked what her favorite thing is about being a coach, Tibu responded, “my favorite thing being a coach is when I see my players achieving their goals, accessing new opportunities, and scaling to higher heights.”
Coach Pascilia & TYSA
For Pascilia, a coach for TYSA in Kenya, leading by example comes naturally. She has been a coach in her community for 7 years, and has used her role to learn from experience and develop her leadership skills. But she knows that she cannot do it alone. For her Coach Action Plan, Pascilia is leading a program to train and develop more female coaches to act as program designers and leaders in her community.
She understands the importance of female coaches as role models and inspiration for girls in the community, and hopes that the program, “will give the girls in my community a voice and space to play, participate, and take over leadership roles.”
Coach Esther & VAP
Esther, a coach for VAP in Kenya, created a program she calls Maktaba Mtaani. Maktaba Mtanni creates a safe space for girls living in congested slums of Nairobi to learn science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). The program also provides young girls with female role models and opportunities for leadership roles in soccer. The program currently engages 60 girls!
Esther believes that the Maktaba Mtaani program will provide a safe space for girls in the community to not only meet female role models, but also have important conversations about the girls' decision-making and their future careers. She believes that girls need visible role models who are not afraid to be confident, competitive, and strong leaders.
Esther shared her experience as a coach: “I became a coach because I wanted to help others with issues I have experienced myself. My favorite part about being a coach is seeing someone’s confidence grow.”
Coach Sharon & Watoto Wasoka
Sharon has been a coach with Watoto Wasoka in Uganda for one year and in that time she has enjoyed the challenge of helping players improve and enjoy the game of football. Sharon’s project to increase girl’s engagement in football centers around a 4 day football camp that will bring 30 girls, ages 12-15, together for soccer sessions, menstrual health lessons, and female empowerment sessions led by female coaches.
Sharon believes it’s important for girls to have female coaches. She explains, “Female coaches are brilliant role models. Girls need visible role models who are not afraid to be confident and strong leaders. They help build self esteem, which keeps girls active and engaged in sports.”
Coach Fahaby & SWB Uganda
In her 15 months as a coach with Soccer Without Borders, Fahaby has become a role model for many girls. Despite no longer being a competitive athlete, she knew that the impact she could have through sport was not yet finished, so she decided to become a coach. For her project, she is organizing multiple events, including a coaching clinic and events with successful female athletes, with the intention of creating more female role models for the SWB Uganda participants.
Fahaby hopes that this role model and leadership development program will increase the visibility of female role models in the community, so that girls can be inspired and the community can see the success of female athletes.
Fahaby believes in the saying, “if she can see it, she can be it,” and knows that if girls can see the success and leadership of female role models and athletes, they will be inspired and determined to pursue their own dreams.
Coach Eva & Future Stars Academy
Eva, a coach with Future Stars Academy in Tanzania, has always loved playing football. Now, she is using her passion to inspire girls and women to play football, develop leadership skills, and work towards gender equity. In addition to her continued contributions to the existing gender equality and girls' empowerment training programs, Eva’s Coach Action Plan was a girls-only Gender Equality Football Tournament on October 17th. The four teams played matches and also participated in gender equality training.
Eva believes that providing girls with the opportunity to play competitive matches and have female coaches and role models are both important steps in empowering girls through sport. When asked her favorite part about coaching, Eva said she feels the most proud when she connects with the girls and sees them improving on and off the field. She hopes that these programs will help to ensure equal opportunities and respect for girls and women in both football and life.