I am going to start by asking you to share this blog and story through all social media channels and any networking possibilities you have to help this team get sponsored. As you read this blog and look at the pictures I think you will see why this is so important on many levels. I have also attached an informative description of this program at the end of the blog and hope you can share this with the intention of finding sponsorship to keep this program moving forward.
This weekend I had the opportunity to observe one of the ideas being utilized to help mobilize community and reduce the stigma of Obstetric Fistula. As you read on you will also see how this becomes so much bigger than just fistula but looking at the empowerment of young women with different life circumstances. Currently, this team of young women aged 14- 22 years of age are playing leg ball (soccer) in a Women’s Premier League in Kenya and are helping to spread the word with their knowledge to the fans watching the match and the opposing teams about women suffering from obstetric fistula. The women’s leagues struggle to find sponsorship as the men’s leagues are the priority in Kenya. I want to demonstrate in this blog how even though this is a great way to mobilize a community, especially men since this is a large target of this work to get men involved, but stress this is really about female empowerment all over the world and right now in Kenya with this team.
To share some background these young women are from struggling families, some of them are not in school and they are on this team without any sponsorship. I really saw the toll it takes on the lady with the vision behind this type of mobilization to try and follow her passion in helping women with obstetric fistula but also seeing a better future for these girls. The inspiring woman I am referring to is Habiba. She has started a Community Based Organization hoping to soon become an NGO called WADADIA (Women and Development Against Distress in Africa). She not only has been struggling to fund this group but has also sacrificed much to invest in their future by helping them look outside of themselves. Please see the attached document at the end of this blog to read more on the team and Habiba’s work.
The girls are learning to help those in need, learning valuable life lessons and empowering their future through cultivating life skills such as foundational computer knowledge, beading, seamstress expertise etc. Habiba also ensures that no matter where a tournament is located she finds a way to help the girls experience the world around them. As you can see from the pictures these girls took a boat ride and were able to see the Hippos and other wildlife. Most of these girls have never been out of their village and have never seen a lake. It was heart lifting to hear the excitement and even fear of the water coming from these girls as I watched them explore.
This team allows them to cultivate dreams, service others and discover the world around them. This is also while learning how to communicate with adults, the accountability of being part of a team and building community with other women. I find this all to be important as I look at how our world needs to change and the role of women leading this change with men. What does it look like to build community with other women, to basically have a balanced female energy? I find this to be an important aspect especially with the behavior we have seen in youth that leads into our adult lives. An example I can provide is something that happened at one of the matches this weekend. As you can see many of the girls have kept their hair short. The opposing team was questioning them and in a way making a judgment regarding how they decided to keep their hair. The response the WADADIA team gave was they were showing the natural beauty of the African Woman. I know all of us women have experiences to speak of where we have experienced some unhealthy interactions and communication with other girls/women. The beauty of balanced female energy is creating space for others to enter our lives without preconceptions or suspicions. It is not jealousy or cattiness. It is sisterhood, content to enjoy and share the good fortune of other women. To trust in the relationship with other women and be able to witness each other, share in all of our similarities of experience and build each other up because it is the good of all of us. I believe if you can help girls learn how to nurture this relationship when they are young and how to communicate in a healthy way with other girls this is a great start of impacting female empowerment and also a supportive environment shared with men for our future walking hand in hand. My intention- I model the beauty of my female relationships filled with love, trust and compassion to nurture balance within myself and those around me. How are you nurturing your female relationships? Do you find yourself judging others? Feeling jealous? Gossiping? Or do you have nurturing female relationships? Do you celebrate those women around you? Do you mentor and help women reach their goals? How do you begin to balance this relationship or even help others find the power within each other? I have found this balanced energy in a community of women and I can speak from personal experience that it is transforming and nurturing in ways I never realized. As always.. thank you for reading!
WADADIA GIRLS SPORTS CLUB
TITLE OF THE PROJECT: Supporting the Girl Child using Sports & Life Skills
IMPLEMENTING AGENCY: WOMEN AND DEVELOPMENT AGAINST DISTRESS IN AFRICA
Women And Development Against Distress In Africa (WADADIA) is a community based organization founded on three pillars of psychosocial support, economic empowerment and reproductive health. The organization is based in the western region of Kenya and is currently working in Kakamega, Bungoma and Busia Counties in its activities targeting the most vulnerable populations such as the low income women and out-of-school youth with prevention, care and management programmes that are within its mission. The organization has been in existence since 2006 and it registered as a CBO in 2009.
The youth form a core group in any community and continuity and the sustainability of projects, businesses, development etc is directly dependant on the investment on this group. In 2009, a desire to equip Youth in and out of school with basic academic knowledge; positive Behavior Change Communication (BCC) messages; strengthening Health education; mentorship & coaching developed. The sporting and identification of talent; use of creative arts, Soccer and Martial arts, increasingly became avenues to engage the youth with the ultimate goal to ensure that Youth become self confident and equipped with life skills to prepare them for life.
The organization has a girls football team which is currently participating in the second tier league in the country, WADADIA F.C. WADADIA F.C. is a girls football or leg ball team constituting of girls from economically disadvantaged backgrounds who engage in soccer to hone up their skills in the sport. More importantly, they make use of soccer to pass messages to communities on HIV/AIDS and reproductive health issues such as Obstetric Fistula.
WADADIA LG has become a leading girls football club in Western Kenya and has had a very successful season since it was formed in January 2010 including being the 2012 winners of FKF Western Provincial League and FKF Mini-league to get promotion to the FKF Ladies Nation Wide League 2013. The team finished 3rd on the table standing thereby earning a slot in the Ladies Premier League 2014. The success came amid numerous challenges mainly financial and logistical.
WADADIA LG is a community club based in Mumias town. The club has a large following from the area and this is a contributing factor towards its sterling performance.
The club has been relying on individual contributions and well wishers to run its activities which has been very challenging and is bound to be tougher with our promotion to the FKF Premier league next year. This makes it necessary for us to join hands and help nurture the talents within our youth and make them responsible Kenyan citizens.
It is due to these challenges that the club is appealing to all the well wisher for support in order to participate effectively in the 2014 league season.
The WADADIA LG is managed by the WADADIA CBO governance structure that is composed of 5 boards of trustees below which we have 7 management board members. Below the board we have the sports subcommittee which is chaired by WADADIA director who is the technical director of the team. In this subcommittee we have the team manager the facility manager, welfare the coach, assistant coach and other stakeholders who make part of the technical bench for the team. The role of WADADIA LG management includes the following:-
1. Ensure capacity building for all the technical bench including the technical director
2. Networking and collaboration with community stakeholders
3. Handling the team welfare issues
4. Offer regular reporting to all stakeholders including the Department of Youth Affairs and sports
5. Capacity building of the team members on health related messages and communication skills.
6. Ensure that monitoring is regularly undertaken and conduct mid season and End of season Project Evaluations.
7. Stakeholders are involved at the evaluation processes.
8. Ensure that at end of season, both project reports and financial reports are facilitated within a period of three months after the soccer season completion.
BUDGET FOR WADADIA LG IN THE LADIES PREMIER LEAGUE PARTICIPATION 2014
Contact information below for an estimated budget
Women and Development Against Distress in Africa
P.O. BOX 1075 – 50102