Mixed gender tournament breaks down stigma
The Girls United team held a mixed-gender tournament at the Lesotho Football for Hope Centre last week as part of a project supported by the West Ham United Foundation.
A total of 25 girls from the local community have been trained in life skills development, HIV prevention, sexual & reproductive health and tackling gender based violence. The mixed-gender tournament was a culmination of their learning and a chance to engage male friends and family in the course.
Coach Denis Raselimo said: "One of the issues we talk about is inclusion, especially of girls in football. We want people to understand that girls can also do what boys can do."
Director of Football Chris Bullock added: "There is still a lot of stigma surrounding the role of women in society in Lesotho - in the workplace, at school, in relationships and in sport. By showing that girls and young women can participate in football alongside men helps to challenge these stereotypes, not only on the pitch but in all areas of life."
Two coaches from the West Ham Foundation visited Kick4Life last year and contributed their expertise to running programmes that promote inclusion.
Bullock continued: "The West Ham coaches helped us to develop the skills of our coaches and to give them the confidence to run mixed-gender events. It was very encouraging to see the males taking part and eager to learn about gender rights."