Addressing violence against women and girls through football
The British Council and Premier League, together with UK and Kenyan partners, including ACORD and its partner Free Pentecostal Fellowship in Kenya (FPFK), have began delivering an innovative pilot programme using football to tackle issues of violence against women and girls in Kenya.
Building on the highly successful Premier Skills initiative and funded by the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID), “Addressing Violence Against Women and Girls through Football” will work with young people, initially in Mt. Elgon and subsequently in a second region of Kenya, to address some of the behaviours and attitudes that give rise to high levels of violence against women and girls.
Over the three-year funding period, the programme will focus on adapting the community engagement models used by Premier League clubs in the UK to deliver regular community football sessions for young people in two regions of Kenya with a focus on the prevention of gender-based violence.
The weekly football sessions will offer inclusive opportunities to play and will aim to engage both boys and girls between the ages of 10 and 20 years. The programme aims to develop skills around teamwork, fair play, self-confidence and respect for self and others.
Expert Premier Skills coaches from Premier League clubs in the UK will train local coaches to deliver participative, inclusive and engaging community football activities for young people. The coaches will also be trained to address questions of gender, violence and conflict during the football sessions and these messages will be strengthened through monthly workshops delivered by local experts from partner NGOs.
A selected group of coaches from Mt. Elgon will be trained to become coach educators, equipping them to deliver training to other Kenyan coaches to ensure the programme’s sustainability.
Alongside the weekly football sessions, the programme will run football tournaments to raise awareness of the issues within the wider community with an accompanying multi-media advocacy campaign and will include a strong research and evaluation component to assess the programme’s impact and build the evidence-base for addressing social issues through football.
The programme in Kenya is an exciting opportunity to build on the success of Premier Skills to use football as a vehicle for social change. The programme aims to work directly with 96 community football coaches, 4,000 young people, 120 community stakeholders and 10,000 members of the wider community attending tournaments and awareness-raising events.
Other local partners for the pilot project include Football Kenya Federation, AFC Leopards and Moving the Goalposts Kilifi. The programme will also work closely with the County Government of Bungoma and the second selected region.
Also Read: Culmination of ACORD Kenya’s Sixteen Days of Activism in Mt. Elgon
ACORD has worked extensively on peace building with community elders in Mt. Elgon and has expertise in gender, peace building, health and livelihood issues. ACORD is a key partner for the development of the programme in Kenya due to their longstanding relationships and contacts within communities. They have experience in dealing with the psychosocial impact of conflict and the issues affecting women and girls in Mt. Elgon and understand the need to establish a sustainable project with community ownership.
Free Pentecostal Fellowship in Kenya (FPFK) works with ACORD in western Kenya, delivering the national Peace and Rights programme in Mt. Elgon and engaging community elders in the process of dialogue that resulted in the Mabanga peace accord signed in 2011 in the presence of the then Vice President of Kenya. The FPFK team has delivered psychosocial interventions for both victims and perpetrators of the past violence and has worked with 600 ex-militiamen to rehabilitate them and support their reintegration into the community.