Craig Bellamy Foundation launches Girls Football League in Sierra Leone on International Women’s Day
08 March 2012 – The Craig Bellamy Foundation will on Thursday 8th March re-launch its girls football league across Sierra Leone in West Africa, giving over 200 young females the opportunity to reach new heights in sport and education.
Kicking-off on International Women’s Day with events in Makeni and Kenema, the expanded league aims to demonstrate the importance of gender equality, by offering equal opportunities to girls and boys in these regions to attend school, play football and lead their communities.
Sierra Leone is currently ranked 180 out of 187 on the UN’s Human Development Index, with gender inequality identified as one of the key issues affecting progress.
All participants in the Girls League will be given full academic scholarships. This follows a successful four-team pilot project in Makeni during the 2010-11 season that saw school attendance jump to 93%, compared with a national average for girls of just 17% (UNICEF 2009).
Speaking ahead of the launch, Tim Kellow, the Foundation’s CEO, said:
“After a hugely successful debut season, we are delighted that this year’s expanded League will include more girls in new parts of the country. For many of the girls, involvement in the League has empowered them to lead change in their communities which is helping to challenge gender stereotypes that have traditionally restricted opportunities for women.”
The Girls League follows the success of the CBF Boy’s league for under-14s that was set up in 2009 with UNICEF’s support, with over 2000 young people now playing across Sierra Leone.
The CBF Youth Development League uses a unique structure that harnesses a love of football to promote education and community work among Sierra Leone’s young people – with school attendance, participation in community projects, fair-play and match results given equal weighting when determining league positions.
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About the Craig Bellamy Foundation
Set up in 2007, the Craig Bellamy Foundation is a charity offering underprivileged children in Sierra Leone the chance to reach their true potential through sport and education.
With a focus on improving education standards, the Foundation runs the country’s only national youth league and a not-for-profit professional football academy.
The CBF Youth Development League, established in 2009, is a ground-breaking initiative that uses football to empower a new generation of Sierra Leone children to change their own and their communities’ lives for the better.
It utilises a unique structure to promote education and community work among Sierra Leone’s young people, with school attendance, participation in community projects, fair-play and match results given equal weighting when determining league positions.
The League aims to tackle the country’s key development priorities – education, health, youth exclusion and gender inequality – and with UNICEF’s initial support is now established as the country’s leading sport and development programme. Its impacts include:
- School attendance of participants is above 90% (compared with a national average of just 21% (UNICEF, 2009))
- Over 500 community projects to improve sanitation and the local environment have been implemented
- Nearly 50,000 people have accessed key health messages regarding malaria and HIV prevention.
- After last year’s successful pilot programme, the newly-expanded Women’s League will take place in the communities around the cities of Makeni and Kenema.
For more information visit: http://www.craigbellamyfoundation.org/
International Women’s Day
International Women’s Day (IWD) is held annually on the 8th March to inspire women and celebrate their achievements. For 2012, the theme of IWD will be “Connecting Girls, Inspiring Futures”.
It is recognised as a public holiday in countries across the world. Observed since the early 1900s it has grown into a global web of local activities ranging from political rallies, government activities, theatric performances, local craft markets and charity awareness events.
The launch of The Craig Bellamy Foundation Women’s Football League in Makeni can be found on the official IWD website: http://www.internationalwomensday.com/craigbellamyfoundation
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