“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.
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.
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.
“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.”