Harnessing football’s global appeal to tackle violence against women and girls in Africa

The UK’s British Council and Premier League have launched a new football initiative to tackle violence against women and girls in Africa.

British Council

A new partnership between the Department for International Development, the Premier League and the British Council has been announced by International Development Secretary Justine Greening to help tackle issues of violence against girls and women through football.Launched in Western Kenya earlier this week, the new programme will provide training for 47 Kenyan female and male football instructors and referees by expert Premier League coaches from Aston Villa FC and West Bromwich Albion FC.According to the British Council, the trainee coaches will receive the skills and support they need to run grassroots football activities in their communities, with a particular focus on working with young people to question the behaviours and attitudes that lead to high levels of violence against girls and women.The initial £1.5 million pilot phase will run in Mount Elgon, where 45 per cent of women report having experienced violence since the age of 15 and more than a quarter within the last year; these are some of the highest rates in the country.Participation in sport is a powerful tool for addressing gender inequality, claims the British Council, and by engaging boys and men and girls and women together through football, “we can target harmful social attitudes and empower people to speak out within their communities.”Justine Greening said, “Football’s international appeal gives it the unique ability to inspire change. By working with boys and girls through football and developing their leadership skills we can empower them to have a stronger voice within their communities and stamp out abuse, discrimination and violence.”Premier League Chief Executive Richard Scudamore said, “The Premier League and our clubs work hard to improve the lives of young people in their communities across the UK. The right thing to do, given our international reach, is to embed these objectives into our global Premier Skills programme, and over the past few years we have seen growing numbers of women being trained as grassroots coaches and referees across the 25 countries in which it operates.”

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