Futebol dá força Sweden
Programs in Sweden
Futebol dá força Sweden started in 2013 when our founder Cecilia Andrén Nyström returned to her country of birth after starting up Futebol dá força in Mozambique and realized that our work is just as necessary in Sweden as anywhere else:
"We have the same problems here in Sweden, we are just better at hiding them, or just good at not talking about them."
Sweden is one of the richest countries in the world, and has not participated as an armed force in any war for two centuries. Sweden's long-term successful economic system with substantial social welfare has been challenged in recent years due to high unemployment, socio-economic segregation and increased levels of extremism which has created a society in discord with itself. Sweden is often considered one of the most gender equal countries in the world, however, statistics show a different reality.
In Sweden, one in three young women between 16-24 years lives with anxiety, distress or unease in her daily life - a fact that is rarely addressed in public discourse. This number increases to 43% when women up to 29 years are counted. The statistics are much lower for boys and men in the same age span, at 14%. Girls and young women are also often targets of physical, psychological and sexual violence. One in three girls that attend a youth health centre, known as 'ungdomsmottagning' in Sweden, report having had repeated experiences of harassment or other violations and 14% have been victims of some form of sexual assault during the last year. Young girls are particularly vulnerable with regards to sexual violence – one third of all reported rapes are committed against a person under the age of 15. The majority of rapes and attempted rapes in Sweden are committed indoors by a perpetrator that the victim knows. Given that almost half of all girls have at some point been contacted online by someone who wants to talk about sex or send them pictures with sexual content that they do not want to see, we can conclude that girls and young women in Sweden have few safe spaces or free zones where they can simply be, grow as individuals and participate actively in their community without the fear of being harassed or limited in other ways.
We collaborate with the Swedish Football Federation and various local organizations throughout the country. Together we create safe spaces where young girls can come together, have fun, learn and develop as individuals with support from female role models.
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.
Futebol Aberto means 'open football' and is a safe space and training session where girls can come and play with FDF coaches free of requirements and always free of charge. Any girl can come and train football unconditionally and have fun during our training hours, where there is space for feelings, questions and important conversations. Futebol Aberto serves as a stepping stone into the Swedish club system, also known as 'föreningslivet', which is a pillar of Swedish civil society and the only national structure of organized sports activities for youth outside of the school system. Futebol Aberto gives football clubs a way to include girls that are often marginalized in both football clubs and in the community, making 'föreningslivet' a place for everyone.
In the summertime, we organize open football summer camps in different locations in Sweden in collaboration with local football clubs, partners and municipalities. Just as with Futebol Aberto, any girl can come and play football free of charge with the support and leadership of our FDF-leaders. During the camps, which usually last for between three to five days, the girls play football, strengthen their self-confidence and self esteem, work on their cognitive and social skills, make a lot of friends and have plenty of fun! Usually the girls that take part in our camps are new to football, and end up at our Futebol Aberto sessions or in a regular football team after the camp. And who can blaim them - who wouldn't want the fun to continue?!
We run a mentorship program for our coaches in Sweden to further support and develop their leadership skills. All our leaders can get a female executive from a sector of their choice as their mentor with whom they can juggle all kinds of questions concerning their leadership and personal development – when and where they want.
In Sweden, girls' football is played to a great extent. However, coaches are predominately male and often lack relevant leadership training. Because of this, in Sweden we only work with female leaders to improve the gender balance in football clubs and because we believe that young girls need female leaders and role models to look up to. However, being a female football coach in Sweden is not always easy because of prevailing negative attitudes and prejudice against female leaders, especially in football. Therefore, we run a closed digital and physical network for our coaches to give them a safe space where they can exchange experiences, discuss their reality and how to tackle it as well as inspire each other.
Where we are
Learn more about each area
• Stockholm • Åland Islands • Södertälje • Linköping • Sydväst
The Swedish Crown Princess Foundation arranged a meeting for the organizations that receive support, including FDF, Sweden
Radio interview with FDF-players Frida Ahmed and Jetnisa Nuha in Norrby, Borås, Sweden, and with FDF's co-worker Frida Persson on the International Day of the Girl Child, P4 Sjuhärad
Listen here. Start at minute 8:22.
Young leadership that impresses - Cecilia Andrén Nyström speaks during the Enterprise Day in Borås, Sweden, 7H Affärer
Read more here.
Football empowers girls in the Dalaberg neighborhood of Uddevalla, Sweden, writes the magazine Hem & Hyra
Read more here
Listen and read more here.