Futebol dá força Mozambique
Programs in Mozambique
Futebol dá força was founded in Mozambique's capital Maputo in 2012 by Cecilia Andrén Nyström and Sara 'Sarita' Jacob Simone, and since then we have built up programs all over the country. It was in Mozambique that our methodology developed to then spread to other countries in the world. The development and the programs in Mozambique are led by Sarita who works hard to promote and strengthen the rights that she was not given herself as a young girl.
After almost five centuries as a Portuguese colony that ended with independence in 1975, Mozambique has faced large-scale emigration, economic dependence, severe drought, and a prolonged civil war that is still on-going. Mozambique has consequently had a hard time developing and is still among the poorest countries in the world. Traditional social structures and attitudes restrict girls’ rights and opportunities.
More than 50% of all girls get married before they reach the age of 18, with many unwanted and early pregnancies and school drop outs as some of the consequences. Only 34% of girls complete primary school. Sexual abuse and domestic violence is widespread, which has a direct correlation with the high amount of young women infected by HIV. Few girls know their rights, and especially their sexual and reproductive rights. Traditional hierarchical structures also prevent girls from exercising their rights when they are aware of them. By empowering girls and the communities around them, we're changing this.
And change is possible. Futebol dá força's Mozambican co-founder, Sara, "Sarita" Jacob Simone, was kicked out by her own family at the age of 14 because she wanted to play football although her parents forbid her to. She always continued fighting and believing in herself, and today she supports the very same family through her job as Country Director working to promote and strengthen the rights that she was not given herself.
All our programs are run in collaboration with the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Youth & Sports, the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Welfare as well as with the Mozambican Football Federation. In each province, we work with local youth associations and women's rights organizations.
We empower leaders
We empower and coach voluntary leaders in inclusive leadership, sexual and reproductive health and rights and as football coaches. The leaders in turn empower their players both on and off the football field, while they at the same time change attitudes and structures in their local communities that today limit girls' rights and opportunities.
We empower players
We empower players by creating a safe space both on and off the football field where girls can develop, grow and find their right way in life. Through football, girls strengthen their cognitive skills, self-esteem and self-confidence, while they also learn about their rights in order to be able to make informed decisions that affect their future.
We empower communities
We empower the communities where our leaders and players are active by changing attitudes and structures that prevent girls from exercising their rights and getting equal opportunities. We work together with local community structures to engage them to join us and lead change.
In Mozambique we run a national football league for girls - the first and only girls' football league ever in the country. Before each game, all football playing girls participate in workshops about human rights as well as sexual and reproductive health and rights. During each game, we have the same workshops with the audience around the football field. This way we make everyone part of the change; both the girls who learn to stand up for their rights and the community that learns to acknowledge girls' rights. The league is played in more than 30 districts all over the country in one age group: U15. The league starts with district play-offs, followed by provincial play-offs, and finally ends with regional and national finals. Currently, 3746 girls play games and participate in workshops every weekend, and on the sidelines we reach thousands of people - also every week!