Futebol dá força Zambia
Programs in Zambia
Futebol dá força came to Zambia in 2013, starting off with one team coached by Jairos Kaoma and Mike Ndebele inspired by Futebol dá força in Mozambique. Since then, Jairos and Mike have led the development and they now run Futebol dá força in Zambia with programs all over Southern Province. And that is exactly what Futebol dá força is all about: that every one of us can change the world – starting on the football field and then further in life. It's as simple as that, as Jairos puts it:
"It is all about confidence, and telling yourself that you can do it. And then you do it."
Zambia, an independent country since 1964 when the British colonial rule ended, is largely dependent on its copper and mining industries and has taken a hard hit from falling world commodity prices. As the country relies on hydroelectric power to a great extent, severe drought has led to a power deficit resulting in daily power cuts. Zambia is also one of the countries in the world that has suffered the most from HIV/AIDS, with almost 14% of the population affected by the virus. Due to this, the population is very young.
Traditional hierarchical structures restrict girls' rights and opportunities. Many girls get married before the age of 18 which often results in interrupted schooling or school drop outs. Sexual abuse and domestic violence is normalized and prostitution is widespread to finance school or to sustain the family. Every third Zambian girl between 15-19 years old is already a mother. With very strong Christian churches in the country, sexuality has long been considered taboo and contraceptives are rarely used which further reduces girls' opportunities to decide over their own future.
We are working to get rid of the taboos and to open up for conversations that are changing attitudes in Southern Province, Zambia and the world. All our programs are run in collaboration with the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Youth & Sports, as well as with the Football Association of Zambia. We have the honor to work with numerous young and engaged voluntary leaders who are determined to give girls the rights and opportunities that they are entitled too - and we can already see results of their hard work.
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.
Southern Province Girls' League
We run the first and only girls’ football league in Southern Province in Zambia. 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 both Livingstone and Choma, and is divided in two age groups: U13 and 13+. The league starts with district play-offs and ends with provincial finals. The provincial champion team wins a trip to Sweden to participate in Gothia Cup. Our coaches organize and administer the league themselves with our support. Currently, 750 girls play games and participate in workshops every weekend, and on the sidelines we reach hundreds of people - also every week!
Chinja Ziko is Nyanja for 'change the world' - which is what our leaders do every day and what Southern Province Girls' League in Zambia is all about. To combine it with football and really create change, we run the Chinja Ziko program. It is an educational program for coaches and other volunteers that want to develop and become facilitators during our league games. We educate them in sexual and reproductive health and rights, human rights and in how to facilitate workshops and community campaigns. The coaches, as facilitators, hold our league workshops, and also go out on campaign missions during the week to raise awareness in communities and on the sidelines where our girls play football.
Since the start of the Southern Province Girls' League, we have had difficulties getting referees to the games due to prevailing negative attitudes and prejudice towards girls' football. Few referees have taken the job seriously, and have considered the games as inferior in status and in quality to boys' football. And that is not okay. We therefore started our own referee training program where young people in the communities where we work can apply to be trained and coached as referees. The referees only officiate Southern Province Girls' League games and take the job very seriously - and are proud to be officiating great games played by great players while at the same time challenging gender stereotypes.