More girls taking up football in Pakistan through Generation Amazing programme
02 Feb 2016 - 17:07
While historically there have been numerous cultural and lifestyle barriers to girls taking part in football and other sport-related activities in Pakistan, the numbers are now starting to change. With assistance from the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy (SC)’s Generation Amazing programme, the tide is beginning to turn and more girls are finding their way on to the sports field and benefitting directly as a result.
Alongside strategic partners Right To Play, the SC’s Generation Amazing programme has rehabilitated football pitches and launched Football for Development initiatives in the communities of Mardan, Thatta and Lyari. This has ensured the provision of safe and culturally appropriate environments for girls to play in, and sped up the recruitment and development of highly trained female coaches to act as role models to the younger generations.
By mid-2015, 30 coach trainers, 65 youth leaders and 62 junior leaders, of which approximately 50% are female, had been trained to deliver regular football for development sessions, coaching and community service projects across all three Generation Amazing communities in Pakistan. This important group of trainers, coaches and mentors are using the power of football to deliver gender-neutral messages, and to empower girls and boys alike to develop essential life skills including cooperation, team work, leadership, decision making and critical thinking. The overwhelming majority of participants in many of these activities to date have been female.
“My daughter was a shy girl who always used to remain quiet in public places,” said Bakhtawar, who recently came to her daughter Saeeda’s school in Lyari to personally thank the local Generation Amazing Coach Trainer. “Now she is confident and can speak in front of many people. Generation Amazing is a wonderful programme that is teaching children team work, patience, tolerance and peace.”
The effects of the programme have not gone unnoticed in the local community either. Nabi Baksh, Executive District Officer of Education in Lyari, recently attended a Generation Amazing Football for Development event to celebrate the achievements of women while calling for greater equality, which was attended by over 100 local community members. “I am very happy to see so many girls here who are representing Lyari as a positive influence in society”, he said. “I am grateful that Generation Amazing provides us with a platform for girls and women to develop skills and explore opportunities. The women in Lyari need education to empower themselves.”
Rosa D’Alessandro, SC Generation Amazing programme manager, said: “Girls are making positive strides in their community through Generation Amazing. This ultimately has a positive impact on their behaviours, and clearly shows the benefits which the programme is bringing to the lives of individuals in these communities.”