Location and general information
In Mozambique 60% of the population lives below the international poverty line. Traditional social practices deteriorate the situation further; the educational system remains poor and 50% of Mozambican girls marry before the age of 18. Early marriages lead to less power in decision-making and early unwanted pregnancies, increasing the risk of maternal and child mortality. In this context, girls unfortunately have very few ways of obtaining information and support when they need it.
To improve the situation, alternative educational platforms that can reach girls need to be set up, empowering these young women by giving them knowledge and practical information on how to exercise their rights daily. The independent foundation, Futebol dá força, which uses football to empower girls is actively engaged in creating this educational platform for both girls and their community. By providing safe places and football teams with well-equipped leaders, the goal is to influence girls’ ability to improve their own future prospects.
Futebol dá força has a plan to develop a girls’ football league in Mozambique called the Mutola Cup. The football league is a structure which already exists, and it is run jointly by local stakeholders, such as the Mozambican Ministry of Education, Ministry of Youth and Sports and Ministry of Health, as well as the Mozambican Football Association. Concretely, training sessions and football matches will be organised, as well as workshops and interactive discussions on topics including life skills, children's rights and sexual and reproductive health. This will create an established safe space where people, especially girls, can engage in dialogue.
- Reaching 15,000 girls (aged 11 to 15), increasing their awareness of children's rights and health issues
- Empowering these girls to build agency and increase their self-esteem
- Engaging community members to highlight the role they play in girls’ strategic life choices
- Training 800 voluntary football coaches, of which 100 should be female
- Organising football training, matches and workshops
- Maintaining low costs, in order to integrate the project as part of everyday activities
- Having a long-term impact, which means working closely with the national structures
The girls’ football teams will have several weekly training sessions between February and November. The training sessions, reaching 15,000 girls (15 to 25 per team), will take place in eleven provinces in Mozambique. In parallel, together with local stakeholders, the Mutola Cup football league will take place between April and October, as part of which girls’ football teams will play games every Saturday at district level.
Before each football game, the 800 volunteer coaches trained will facilitate a workshop with the girls on key topics linked to their rights and health with the purpose of increasing their ability to make informed decisions regarding their future. The workshop themes will be streamlined throughout the football league so that all teams get access to the same evidence-based information.
In addition to the girls' workshops and between games, the coaches will engage spectators at the football grounds. In this way, the message will also be shared with the girls’ parents, friends, siblings and other community members, meaning approximately 45,000 individuals. Here, the focus will be on how community members can apply children's rights, in particular sexual and reproductive health rights, to support girls in their decision-making processes.
In practice, Futebol dá força will look at a number of indicators measuring the current situation and future opportunities for girls, to assess whether the expected changes in attitudes and behaviour actually take place. These indicators include:
- girls' views of their own value (self-esteem)
- attitudes in relation to gender equality
- assessment of girls’ treatment by the surrounding community
- access to educational opportunities
- number of early marriages, pregnancies, school drop-outs and cases of abuse
The objective is to track the achievable outcomes by doing a baseline survey and monitoring the activities and their quality. Regular visits will be conducted and, at the end of the project year, a follow-up end-line survey will be conducted.