On the 24th of June, Coaching for Hope in cooperation with the City of Cape Town officially launched the ‘Empowerment of Women and Girls through Football Project’. The event was held at the Athlone Stadium and brought together all partners and stakeholders, including Mayco member Thandeka Gqada (Community Services member who was responsible for the launch) and representatives of The South African Football Association. Also present were the projects six implementing partner organisations, of which Soccer 4 Hope is one.
The project ethos is about women leading women. The objectives are to up skill female coaches and generate wider access for girls to participate in women-led football sessions and competition, particularly in areas where gender barriers are most entrenched.
During 2010, as part of the World Cup legacy programme, the City of Cape Town built 11 artificial turf pitches across the city. Out of these facilities 6 were chosen as sites for the project. In Phase 1, Coaching for Hope delivered a coach training workshop to 30 women from these 6 communities. In Phase 2, these 30 women are now delivering 3 football sessions per week to 60 girls between the ages of 12-18 on their community’s artificial turf.
An integral part of the project will be to use the football sessions to address the challenges and issues women face in each specific community. A workshop hosted by Coaching for Hope identified the main issues affecting women and girls in their communities. These included teenage pregnancy, substance abuse, gender based violence, and lack of support by male dominated sports structures
One of the most profound pieces of information to come out of this workshop was the notion that if you know yourself, know who you are and what you want, then you can navigate yourself through vulnerable situations and be in the right frame of mind to be able to reach out for positive opportunities.
The project will run for an initial 20 weeks with a longer term view to establishing clubs in each of the 6 sites that will be affiliated to SAFA Cape Town.