Global Peace Foundation Seeks to end Violence Against Women in Football
14 September 2023
Global Peace Foundation has been implementing the Uniting to End Violence Against Women in Football aimed at increasing the effectiveness of legislation, policies, national action plans, and accountability systems to prevent and end incidences of violence against women and girls (VAW/G).
The project intervention which was implemented in three regions of Dar-es-Salaam, Dodoma and Zanzibar targeted women and girls footballers, football clubs, local government and central government, media, NGOs, religious leaders, and other stakeholders interested in football.
The project, which was supported by WFT-T, was also aimed at establishing structures and systems to respond to violence against women and girls (VAWG) in football, and to build the capacity of women football institutional partners to develop or implement national and/or local multi-sectoral strategies, policies, and/or action plans on ending violence against women and girls in football.
Some of the activities implemented by the project include; to establish and support a national technical working group (TWG), establish and enforce guidelines on prevention and responding to VAW in football, support the development of a draft prototype of institutional safeguarding guidelines that can be adapted by various football associations and team in Tanzania, advocate for and support associations and teams to adapt or adopt a drafted prototype of safeguarding guidelines for prevention or responding to VAW in football.
Other activities were conducting dialogue with team coaches, football association leaders and teachers to promote behavior change among men involved in day-to-day supervision or coaching of women in football, training journalists and editors on the development of articles to address community stigma, and reporting women's football events, support journalists and editors to attend women football events and matches to document and report the events.
As a result of the project implementation, GPF with collaboration from the Tanzania Football Association (TFF) and the Ministry of Sports established a national technical working group for prevention and response to gender-based violence (GBV) in women's football, which has 18 members, comprising representatives from the National level, Zanzibar, Dodoma, and Dar es Salaam region. The initiative to establish the TWG was commended by both TFF and ZFF as a good platform to advance gender equality and women's rights in football.
Alex Nkenyenge, the Director of Sports, Ministry of Culture, Arts, and Sports said, “Gender-based Violence in sport is not acceptable. Women's Football is an employment, and talent platform that represents our country. As the government, we are responsible for being part of this movement. We are happy to be part of this transformative journey to assure a safe and positive environment for the girls and women in soccer in Tanzania. We, promise to cooperate with other partners and stakeholders to ensure that we implement the strategies agreed.”
The project also supported the development of safeguarding guidelines in consultation with TFF, TWFA, and the ministry of sports. The document covered key values to be adapted by football bodies to safeguard rights of women and girls in football, commitment from the respective organizations to adhere to the guideline, preventive measures, reporting obligation, designation of responsibilities, complaints processing procedure, outcome of the inquiry/ hearing of the complaint, monitoring and evaluation.
Other deliverables from the project include 58 girls participating in football in Dar es Salaam, Dodoma and Zanzibar being capacitated to identifying and reporting GBV; 11 women football teams reached to advocate for the adoption of the new safeguarding policy; 22 key decision makers of women football reached through advocacy meeting; 11 teams have adopted and are using the new safeguarding policy; a total of 50 coaches, team managers and staff reached with social behavior change dialogues, and a total of 12 journalists and 4 editors, 2 producers were trained. The project interventions resulted in an increased positive shift in individual behaviors and perceptions of GBV among coaches, managers, and leaders of women's football teams. This is witnessed by improved level of knowledge of participants on warning signs, existing structures for reporting and response, and available support for gender-based violence from 4 to 8 after the dialogues, and that of perception from 4 to 6 after the dialogues.
Also, slowly improving awareness and perception of football fans towards women football has been witnessed through an ongoing social media campaign under the hashtag #sokalawanawaketz on which some fans have been so positive via their comments and contents of their posts, while initially most of them commented very negatively.
There is also change in attitude and capability of young women to identify warning signs, resist, and report violent incidents. This is evident by an increased level of self-esteem among young women from 5 to 7 after the dialogue and an improved level of self-awareness from 4 to 8 after the dialogues. The level of confidence also improved to 7 from the initial score of 4 before the dialogues.
Christina Korosso, the Manager of Sports at AZAM Media Group said,_ “Since that era, I have witnessed how women and girls in sport were harassed for their appearances, i.e., their wearing styles, their talking styles, and the low income given to us, especially those of us who played basketball. Last year when I attended the launch of the baseline survey report to examine the magnitude of VAWG in football, I was mentally exposed to the fact that this problem is very serious. Also, as I attended journalists' training on ending GBV and/or VAWG in football, I left with the knowledge that led me to sit down with a team of sports journalists to develop strategies we will use to promote women's and girls' football welfare as well as raise awareness in society about opportunities and challenges, especially VAWG incidents they are going through.” ~_