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About Girls Kick It!

About Girls Kick It!

The Team

A bit of history

Gender inequality is rampant in East Africa and young women are disproportionately affected by the northern Ugandan civil war. Due to the more than twenty-three year civil war, many women and girls have been abducted from their homes and forced to serve as sex slaves to members of the Lords Resistance Army. Presently, there is little social and recreational activity to support the young women traumatized by war. As a result, these girls are deprived of the most important years of their life – their youth. Girls Kick It provides healthy and economically sustainable opportunities for young girls and women living in internally displaced persons camps. We believe women must be intimately involved in addressing key issues in northern Uganda such as: HIV/AIDS, health and nutrition, raising children and peace-building. Girls Kick It puts programming first and utilizes the power of sport to compliment ongoing efforts to train, educate, empower and unite the people of Uganda.

Who we are

Since 2006, Girls Kick It has positively impacted the lives of more than 300 girls in Gulu town and the Paicho Internally Displaced Persons Camp. We have provided them with athletic games, team-building and leadership building activities and weekly soccer practice. The girls have demonstrated new-found confidence, teamwork and the belief that they have control of their futures. In fact, the men and boys in the communities have taken over childcare during Girls Kick It tournaments. Moreover, the boys and men mobilize the local community to attend these tournaments and practices.

Soccer Balls

Girls Kick It and our parent organization, Global Youth Partnership for Africa (GYPA), organized a mixed gender team to represent Uganda at the annual Homeless World Cup that took place in Cape Town in 2006 and Denmark in 2007. GKI and GYPA also organized its first all female delegation to Female Homeless World Cup in Melbourne (2008) and then again in Rio in 2010 and Paris in 2011. These opportunities showcased the talents of our players on and off the soccer pitch and illustrated to Ugandans and the world that the strength and resiliency of Ugandan women.  While we are pleased with these successes and believe these are positive changes, we are ready to build new opportunities for girls and women.

Our successful GKI Sport for Social Change Leadership Curriculum uses a peer-to-peer training model where girls and women learn important and practical life-skills.  Key topics within the curriculum address the prevention of HIV/AIDS and domestic violence, and personal hygiene.  Through our unique peer-based model, girls and women in our programs have demonstrated increased confidence and awareness, while showcasing their ability to be changemakers in their community.

Where we are going

Our most recent program equips GKI players with business and management skills so that they may realize economic stability.  Through the “Gweno (chicken) Cooperative Enterprise Project:  the girls and women learn further self-sufficiency through developing their poultry house business.  We piloted the program with the GKI team based in the Paicho Camp. Revenues generated from this social enterprise will fund the players’ school fees, and their ability to expand or develop new businesses.  The plan is for every Girls Kick It team to manage and maintain a poultry house that would provide, for the first time, real economic opportunity for these young girls and women of Paicho. Through this program, the money generated from the sale of chickens to local hotels, businesses and nearby food markets would permit the team to pay for basic needs such as transportation to tournaments and practices, and coaches salaries.

GKI Running_Skirts

Through the Girls Kick It Gweno Project, we offer a place where young girls have an active voice and role in decision-making and development. It is our hope that the girls and women who participate in this program take a long-term leadership role in their community, but also become advocates for changing the development paradigm in northern Uganda. We believe this can be achieved by Girls Kick It team members attending and representing their community at forums, seminars and civil society meetings on gender, health, post-conflict transition, and economic empowerment.

Meet some of the players

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