Windhoek — The Namibia Football Association (NFA) and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF)'s new five-year Strategic Plan, launched at Football House in the capital yesterday, is a well-crafted policy document that aims to uplift, empower and address the needs of the Namibian girl child through football.
The collaborative strategic plan, which runs from 2018-2022, will be implemented through the NFA's highly successful Galz & Goals programme, which is the football association's women football policy implementation arm.
The new strategic plan targets to increase the percentage of young girls aged 10 - 20 playing football through mass participation from 13% to 50% by 2022 in the regions where the Galz & Goals programme is currently running.
Already the programme has reached close to 22,000 adolescent girls by according them the opportunity to play football and empowering them with Sport2life skills, a curriculum that guides and helps them make healthy life choices on and off the field.
UNICEF Country Representative Rachel Odede was present at the launch and applauded NFA for championing sports for development in Namibia, by making it possible for girls to have fun playing football while at the same time ensuring that they benefit from life skills.
"Since 2009, UNICEF has been supporting NFA through Galz and Goals, to use the medium of sport to promote good health, prevent diseases, encourage positive education outcomes, foster social inclusion and to prevent and respond to violence against girls. We can proudly say that we are happy with the growth of the programme, which now reaches 4,000 girls from 13 regions on an annual basis. One of the positive spin-offs of the Galz & Goals programme has been providing lifelong learning and development opportunities for girls; we celebrate the positive testimonies from girls who have gone through the programme on a regular basis," said Odede.
Odede encouraged the NFA to strengthen linkages with the Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture firstly because the bulk of the girls in the programme spend their day in school and because of the opportunity to strengthen the life skills education component of the programme using the Sport2life curriculum.
Mbitjita Mungunda, 18, a beneficiary of Galz & Goals was eager and excited to share her story about how the programme has shaped her life and the lives of other young girls.
"When I started at the centre, I was 12 years old and was still trying to develop my skills as a footballer and the pressure of being a girl playing football wasn't easy. We are bullied a lot and often called names, but with the help of the programme I have managed to deal with bullies, say no and stand up for my rights and what I believe in. As a young girl uttering the word 'no' isn't easy as you are forced to keep up with the appearance of being cool but at the centre we were taught that 'not being cool' is also okay," said the U/20 national team midfielder.