With the FIFA Women’s World Cup kicking off in Canada this weekend, we wanted to showcase how football is changing the lives of women through our programmes in Tanzania. We would like to thank Samra Ghermay for the amazing photos – we love them. Oh and you can keep up with all the World Cup’s fixtures and results here

“Mabinti Tushike Hatamu!” (Girls let’s be leaders!) is a ground breaking and award winning initiative in Tanzania that aims to reduce the vulnerability of adolescent out-of-school girls aged 10-19 years old, who are facing the risks of HIV/AIDS, pregnancy and gender-based violence.

Sulfa in action

Sulfa in action

Sarafina enjoying the game.

Sarafina enjoying the game.

The programme uses sport as a way to bring girls together, change conceptions of young women in the community, and educate girls about sexual reproductive health and rights.

Sports and games are carried out in the community playing grounds after interactive sessions held by Restless Development volunteers, exploring the issues that local adolescent girls are facing.

Including sport in the project has attracted more girls to join the Mabinti groups, as well as having the added benefit of changing the perception of parents and community members towards girls and sports.

Fatuma uses her head

Fatuma uses her head

Many parents thought girls attending sports sessions would only learn negative behaviour so stopped them from playing sport, preferring them to stay at home and do chores. The project is teaching the whole community about the importance of young women playing sport.

Pili is 16 and lives in Dar es Salaam. She doesn’t go to school, and since joining a Restless Development project she’s been really enjoying football and netball.

Imani keeps her eye on the ball

Imani keeps her eye on the ball

“My parents are now allowing me to play football and I have gained a lot through sports. Now I am healthier; before I had problems with legs, my joints were hurting a lot but I have recovered after engaging in sports.

“I KNOW I AM EQUAL TO BOYS, AND THEREFORE I CAN PLAY FOOTBALL TOO. MOREOVER, I HAVE BEEN GAINING SEXUAL HEALTH EDUCATION ALONGSIDE SPORTS SESSIONS.”

You can read more about Mabinti Tushike Hatamu and other programmes that Restless Development runs across sub-Saharan Africa and Asia in our Annual Report here.

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