The British Council and Premier League, together with UK and Kenyan partners, have announced an innovative pilot project which uses football to tackle issues of violence against women and girls in Mount Elgon, Western Kenya.
Building on the British Council and Premier League’s highly successful Premier Skills initiative and funded by the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID), ‘Addressing Violence Against Women and Girls through Football’ will work with young people in Mount Elgon to address some of the behaviours and attitudes that give rise to high levels of violence against women and girls.
The launch of the programme, which will be known locally as Elgon Timz, will take place at Kapsokwony, in Bungoma County on Friday 13th March, 2015. Training of 47 local coaches has been going on throughout the week, culminating in the launch on March 13, 2015.
Local partners supporting the implementation of Elgon Timz include the County Government of Bungoma, ACORD, Free Pentecostal Fellowship of Kenya (FPFK), Football Kenya Federation, AFC Leopards, UN Women and Moving the Goalposts in Kilifi.
47 local coaches from the two sites of Kapsiro and Kapsokwony have been selected to attend the training. The course will be led by Premier Skills Head Coach Paul Hughes, and Premier League club coaches Michael Wynter from Aston Villa Football Club and Hayley James from West Bromwich Albion Football Club. The three Premier League coaches will be assisted by two Level 1 Premier Skills-trained Kenyan coaches.
Throughout the six days, the local grassroots coaches have received expert training from the UK coaches. The training will give them the skills and support to deliver community football activities for young people, with a particular focus on addressing specific challenges around preventing violence against women and girls.
Premier Skills uses football to develop a brighter future for young people around the world, drawing upon the global appeal of the Premier League and its expertise in delivering community programmes in the UK, alongside the British Council’s global network and track record of delivery.
Through Premier Skills, young people, often including the most vulnerable in society, are given opportunities to become better integrated into their local communities, to develop their skills for employability and to raise their self-esteem.
According to estimates from civil society groups and data from the United Nations, Kenyan women’s experience of violence varies according to region, but the western region of Mount Elgon has one of the highest proportions of violence against women, with 45% of women having experienced violence since the age of 15 and more than a quarter reporting that they have suffered violence within the last year.
UK Secretary of State for International Development, Justine Greening said:
“Football’s international appeal gives it the unique ability to inspire change. By working with boys and girls through football and developing their leadership skills we can empower them to have a stronger voice within their communities and stamp out abuse, discrimination and violence.
“No country can escape poverty or plan a more prosperous future when girls and women are denied the chance to reach their full potential. Equal access to education, health and decision making is key to boost growth, creating jobs and ending dependency on aid for good.”
Tony Reilly, British Council Director in Kenya said:
“We are delighted to be partnering with the Premier League and the County government of Bungoma in western Kenya to use the popularity of the Premier League and the global appeal of football to sensitize young people around issues of violence against women and girls. Mount Elgon has been characterised by conflict and violence in the past. This has given rise to a number of social challenges – including high levels of violence against women and girls. With important funding provided by the UK’s Department for International Development, we look forward to working with a range of Kenyan and UK partners on this innovative approach.”
Premier League Chief Executive Richard Scudamore said:
“In the UK, the Premier League and our clubs work hard to improve the lives of young people in their communities. We hold a strong commitment to engage women and girls through a variety of programmes, with over 150,000 girls getting involved in the past year alone.
“Given our international reach, it is only right that we instil these objectives through the Premier Skills global programme, which is why it is pleasing to see our partners from Kenya using football to address the issue of violence against women and girls.”