Sixteen Days of Activism

19 December 2016


During 16 Days of Activism, starting from 25th November till the 10th December 2016, worldwide people raised awareness for violence against girls and women. At OneFamilyPeople we joined this campaign wholeheartedly! It is one of our intervention strategies, specially we want to include girls with disabilities. As they are twice more vulnerable because of their disability and gender.

Yearly we organize a female soccer championship to raise awareness amongst Sierra Leoneans about the negative impact of violence against women and girls. This year teams from the Western Area competed with teams from Moyamba District.

“Soccer is more than just a game, it’s a strategy to help girls build leadership and become better equipped to exercise their rights”, according to OneFamilyPeople’s Deputy Director Hadiatou Diallo. “It’s a tool that gives girls a louder voice on their sexual and reproductive rights, gender-based violence and economic empowerment.”

Soccer for girls is success for all

Soccer for girls is part of OneFamilyPeople’s culture. In Sierra Leone, OneFamilyPeople is the leading organization using soccer for girl’s empowerment. Originally it was introduced by Women Win in 2011. Now five years later, with splendid unpredictability, soccer for girls has captured the hearts of the Sierra Leoneans. Even though the government always promoted soccer as a men sport, we decided that everyone should practice sports since soccer is the most popular national sport. And our female soccer players are gaining much respect from the society!

The female soccer championship started on International Day to End Violence Against Women (25th November) and ended on International Human Rights Day (10th December 2016). Six teams of V-girls participated in the championship: three in Moyamba (Kaiyamba, Moyamba Junction, Bailargo) and three in the Western Area (Dwarzark, Calaba Town, Grafton). A total of 13 Matches was played, six in each district plus the grand finale. Each of the participating communities hosted a match reaching over 5000 people.

16 days playing free

The V-girls’ soccer clubs train hard for the championship. For so many girls it’s a moment of freedom and break through - to showcase that all things are possible for those who believe and take up the venture. The V-girls’ soccer superstars have become some of the nationwide most inspiring girls. They train morning, evenings and weekends. At a glance, you’d never imagine these cheerful and fireless girls are conquering soccer superstars. In fact, soon they might be the most dominant teams - of any sport in Sierra Leone.

For example, the Dwarzark V-girls  walked away with a trophy in every single championship they’ve competed in. How have the team managed to succeed to such a remarkable degree? “We always train with boys,” says Milliscent, Captain of the team. Since they joined the V-girls their sense of responsibility and dedication has grown, hence their success.

This has sparked the Grafton V-girls. They have taken up training with boys 24/7. They have become sporting heroines inspiring new generations of girls, in sport and beyond. “Our dream is to represent Sierra Leone on the international stage, win female world cup, take part in the next Olympic game and win medals,” says Kumba the Captain of the team.

At the final, Grafton defeated Moyamba Junction on a penalty shoot out. The trophy was handed over by George Wyndham, OneFamilyPeople’s Brand Ambassador and Sierra Leone’s paralympian. He says: “Soccer for girls - abled and disabled - show that we can reach greater heights.”

Moving forward

Through the campaign we have created safe spaces for girls with disabilities and those without to learn and play and have strengthened community protection structure to protect them. Health workers and teachers were trained to give girls the support they need to thrive. So far, throughout the country, we have impacted the lives of over 3000 adolescent girls in 13 communities with sport and life skills. And we won’t stop here!

The championship was entirely financed by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs through the International Child Development Initiative under the Girl Power and Her Choice Programmes. Currently, at OneFamilyPeople, we are looking for sponsorship, involving local business, to lift the entire sport for girls, for both abled and disabled girls. As we believe everyone should be included, nobody should be left out.

Interested to join us building a violence free society, where everyone is included? We love to hear from you!  Please get in touch! Or follow us on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIN.


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