Unique programme uses football for tackling violence against girls
ACORD’s Executive Director was invited to take a penalty kick when launching a new project in Kisumu, Kenya that seeks to use the popularity of football to address violence against women and girls.
Credit: Alex the Blogger @Moseaux
“ACORD is very pleased to be part of this great initiative that not only seeks to work with our young people in schools through inclusive football sessions, but also has a comprehensive and well thought out advocacy strategy, research, monitoring and evaluation. This is the second site of such a programme, the first being in Mt. Elgon Bungoma County that has been running for about 6 months now.”, said Jacob Wasai Nanjakululu, the ACORD Kenya Country Director.
The official launch of the new project site took place at Moi Stadium in Kisumu, Kenya on 16 October 2015. The occasion was graced by the presence of the Governor of Kisumu County, members of Parliament and County Assembly, Government representatives, development partners and civil society. The ceremony also marked the graduation of the coaches that have undergone training and have benefited from lessons learned in the other project site.
“Congratulations to the coaches graduating today! The children you will be mentoring will look up to you. Please be on your best behavior both in and out of the fields of play. The success of this programme depends on you, so put in your best efforts and you sure will go down in the History of Kisumu as having contributed to making this city free from violence of any kind.”, said Ousainou Ngum, ACORD Executive Director.
Partnership for local ownership and sustainability
The pilot programme in Kenya is jointly implemented by ACORD and British Council in collaboration with Premier Leage and with funding from the UK’s department for international development, DFID. This programme brings on board other civil society organizations and the county government to ensure the initiative is community owned and sustained even after the project ends.
Grim statistics of violence against women and girls
The practice of rape and girls’ defilement in Kenya has reached epidemic proportions. Every 30 minutes a girl/woman is raped in the country. Young girls are especially vulnerable: nearly 1 in 3 Kenyan girls under the age of 18 experience sexual violence; and as many as 68% of School-aged children report having experienced sex under “coercive conditions”. Five years ago, Kenya national police statistics revealed an average of over 200 cases of defilement reported every month. The epidemic of girl child rape leaves these young girls at increased risk of contracting HIV/AIDS, unwanted pregnancy, and multiple other short and long-term physical and psychological health consequences.
The grim statistics of violence against women in Kenya and Africa at large are unacceptable. Most forms of gender-based violence unequally affect women and infringes on the very core of our fundamental rights as human beings. The consequences are grave, and can never be erased from the minds. They leave lasting physical, psychological and economic wounds on the survivor sometimes, costing them their lives!
Steps towards combatting violence and protecting women and girls
Kenya has taken various measures to combat violence against women, including adapting numerous laws and policies. It is critical that these are implemented. Kenya’s constitution also provides a great framework for further development of the country’s jurisprudence in prevention and protection from violence against women and girls.
The hope is that the successful pilot implementation of this programme in Kenya can lead to its replication and scaling up across the continent. ACORD and British Council’s presence in over 20 African Countries, provides a great opportunity to partner further to advocate for policy and attitudinal change on violence against women and girls as well as numerous other development challenges especially in light of the Global Goals. This programme contributes in particular to SDG 5 on gender equality and the rights of women.