October 11 2018 is the 7th annual International Day of the Girl, and NOWSPAR joins the rest of the world in taking action for girls.
The International Day of the Girl aims to highlight and address the needs and challenges that girls face, while promoting girls’ empowerment and the fulfillment of their human rights.
NOWSPAR believes and invests in girls in and through sport. The organisation uses sport-based methodology to equip girls with sport and life-skills including financial literacy, knowledge about their rights, and development. International Day of the Girl is an opportunity for girls to celebrate their achievements, while staying informed on issues concerning their well-being, human rights, and safety.
This year, NOWSPAR will be supporting a series of community and school based activities around the country to commemorate the International Day of the Girl. Young women leaders will be supporting girls’ action at Chitukuko Primary School, Kapwelyomba Primary School, Woodlands Secondary School, in Lusaka, as well as schools in Chongwe, Kasisi, Ndola and Petauke Districts.
On Saturday, 23 September 2018, NOWSPAR held a community event celebrating the organisation’s long-running Goal programme, a sport- and life-skills programme designed to facilitate the empowerment of adolescent girls and young women.
Reaching 345 girls and young women between the ages of 10 and 24, the event served as the launch of ‘Be Independent’. Be Independent is a new component of the Goal curriculum designed to contribute to enabling young women to develop skills to access income generating opportunities.
Dorcas Kashinda is one of participants who has developed to be a Goal Champion. She gave a speech at the launch event in which she thanked NOWSPAR, Standard Chartered Bank and everybody who showed continuous support of the girl child, for the opportunities Goal has created to empower girls.
“I stand here today as a living testimony of the impact that Goal has on girls’ lives.” Dorcas stated. “Through Goal, I have learned to be a confident girl and take up challenges I would otherwise never have thought of. Goal has enabled me and thousands of young girls to make informed decisions about our futures.”
The participants were also excited to have been a part of the event, expressing happiness and excitement about having learned about their power as young women. “The experience was great!” said 22 year-old Sharon Phiri. “I’ve learned a lot, especially about communication. Whenever you want to achieve something, it’s important to communicate your needs so that everybody can work together.”
Other young women were grateful to have been able to spend a day away from their every day community activities to spend time to think about and plan for their futures. Pauline Lungu, 15, said, “Being here means I’m not in the compound, where I would’ve have likely gotten into trouble. I’ve left a bad place to come to a good place.”
Pauline also added that she felt she’d taken a lot of useful content from the Goal lessons. “I’ll follow everything that I was taught at this event,” she said. “I’ve learned about cleanliness and teamwork. I’ve made some good friends, and I now know how to deal with different people.”
Officiating at the event were Ms. Grace Soko, a representative of the Ministry of Youth and Sport, and Guest of Honour Mr. Simon Kapilima, Zambia’s Ministry of Gender’s Assistant Director. Additionally, the girls’ and young women and NOWSPAR also received full support from partners, Standard Chartered Bank and Women Win, as well as representatives from the organisation’s own Board of Trustees.
Throughout the day, the girls participated in various sports-based life-skills sessions–sessions that have been successfully running in schools around the country since the program’s inception in 2014, handled by trained Facilitators from NOWSPAR that focused on Goal’s four core modules: Communication, Health and Hygiene, Rights, and Financial Literacy. Furthermore, the girls had the option of participating in either a Football or a Netball match, as the event’s main sporting activity. By day’s end, the event saw many satisfied and happy girls, armed with brand new, valuable, and life-changing knowledge and experiences.
NOWSPAR would like to thank our partners, the schools, and everyone that contributed to ensuring the success of the Community Event. The organisation continues to work on facilitating opportunities to reach and empower even more girls in communities throughout the country.
NOWSPAR launched its new project called Play It Forward to facilitate young women’s economic empowerment. The project is an extension of the current Goal Programme and is being funded by Comic Relief, Standard Chartered Bank (UK and Zambia) and Women Win. The project is designed to create pathways to economic empowerment for young women and adolescent girls within the sport sector.
As part of the recruitment process, NOWSPAR held two information sharing meetings, on 21 and 27 September 2018, in which 52 young women attended. Speaking at the opening of the session, Ms. Mwambwa (NOWSPAR Adviser and Board Member) said “NOWSPAR is keen to ensure the support they provide meets the needs of the girls and young women. Therefore this element of the project was developed in consideration of young women’s needs for economic independence”.
When asked how they felt about the project, the candidates said they were excited and felt ready to be a part of a program that would support their efforts towards economic independence.
“I’ve been waiting for a project like this for a long time,” one candidate stated. “I’ve been working on my own. I wake up early every morning and prepare scones, fritters and munkoyo to sell. I’m happy that a program that will teach me how to take that further exists.”
At the meetings, the young women were informed about the project and the opportunities to gain training on entrepreneurship and employability life-skills. The training includes a camp-style week-long training session, vocational training, start up grants, as well as work attachments and internships with a selection of some of NOWSPAR’s organisational partners.
Later, Ms. Mayuni (Board Member and Goal School Coordinator) voiced that she was happy to see so many girls be so responsive to the new program. She encouraged them to continue being positive about their lives and their value, noting that no aspiration was too high. Sharing her own testimony of how she started out as a housemaid to support herself through High School, Ms. Mayuni expressed that she hoped that having the young women see her stand before them as a degree holder would be the driving force to keep them working hard for everything they hope to achieve.
Also in attendance were NOWSPAR Board Member Ms. Carol Chiyassa, and representatives of Asikana Network, a local organisation who offer ICT training to young women in Zambia.
The Play It Forward program is currently reviewing candidate applications, with the training workshop expected to begin in November 2018. NOWSPAR is thrilled to be a part of opening new avenues for girls and women in sport to empower themselves and transform their lives and communities for the better.