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Sport Addressing FGM & Gender Equality

February 7, 2020 

Yesterday’s International Day of Zero Tolerance for FGM (Female Genital Mutilation) presented an opportunity to highlight the unique ways sport is being used to advocate for women and girls' rights, health and well-being.

As part of Sustainable Development Goal 5 on Gender Equality, Target 5.3 specifically calls for an end to this human rights violation, which affects more than 200 million women and girls around the world - with an additional 3 million+ girls at risk annually. Members of our network are helping to achieve this target by 2030, empowering women and girls, and educating their communities through sport.

Beyond Sport is proud to highlight members of our network who join us in advocating for gender equality. These following organizations and projects are helping to end FGM and child marriage, using sport as a tool to raise awareness and change mindsets on the issue: 

Let Her Choose – Tackle AfricaPan-Africa 

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2017 Beyond Sport Global Award Shortlister  

TackleAfrica uses the power and popularity of football to teach sexual health education to young people on football pitches across the continent. They train coaches to use fun and interactive football drills with young people in their clubs and communities. The Let Her Choose program involves coaches using these specially developed methods to educate young people on the harms of child marriage and FGM, which damages the physical and mental health and well-being of girls with long-term effects. 

Breaking the Silence Using Football – Horn of Africa Development Initiative (HODI), Kenya

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2015 Beyond Sport Global Award Winner in Sport for Social Inclusion  

HODI’s innovative project uses the power of sport to create safe spaces for girls in Kenya. In Marsabit, where the project is based, girls and women have little choice or voice. Female Genital Mutilation, early forced marriages and girls dropping out of schools are some of the major challenges girls have to deal with on a daily basis. HODI uses football for social change and to help break the silence on these issues. Girls are not allowed to participate in sports; therefore, football is a powerful tool to say no to restrictions. The sessions are used to discuss the issues with elders and help the girls have a choice armed with the correct facts.  

Batting FGM Out of Africa – 28 Too Many, Maasai Cricket Warriors, Cricket Without BoundariesKenya 

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2015 Beyond Sport Global Award Entrants  

Batting FGM Out of Africa is an exciting project that uses sport and education to help end FGM in Kenya. The Maasai Cricket Warriors use cricket as a tool to empower their society, where women have little say, and child marriage and FGM are encouraged. Training is used as a platform to spread these messages to the elders and community, where girls can gain the courage to advocate for a healthy society where everyone enjoys equal rights. In its first month, they coached 1,750 children in cricket and on FGM awareness, and trained 25 teachers, youth and health workers as coaches.   

Girls’ Sports Project – KMGEthiopia 

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2014 Beyond Sport Global Award Shortlister 

Based in a society where gender-based violence happens frequently and FGM is the norm - impacting a vast majority of girls in the region, KMG envisions a community free from all forms of discrimination and violence. Their mission is to enable women in Ethiopia’s marginalized communities to create environments where women’s rights are observed. Using sport to empower members of their ‘Uncut Girls Clubs’, their program includes several football and volleyball teams, as well as life skill sessions.  

 

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