Futebol dá força was founded in Mozambique's capital Maputo in 2012 by Cecilia Safaee 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.
Mozambique at a glance
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.
Being a girl in Mozambique
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.
How we work
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 organisations.