Sports nonprofit tackles gender-based violence in Kenya by engaging girls and boys

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Football Without Borders Kenya (FWBK), a nonprofit organisation in Kisii County, southwestern Kenya has become a beacon of hope, using sports as a catalyst for change.

The nonprofit organisation is transforming the lives of orphans and vulnerable children within the community, empowering the youth with valuable life skills and providing a safe environment for them to thrive.

Executive Director of FWBK, Osoya George believes that communities should not focus only on women's empowerment without enlightening men.

"Why do we want to empower women without enlightening men? So men are being left behind and that is why they are not solving problems of women's empowerment. We want them to think the same, to know the problem that the other person is facing and how they can come together to solve this problem," he told GSW.

FWBK is also committed to breaking myths and beliefs in the community and promoting gender equality through sports, he added.

He continued that by establishing a safe space for boys and girls to co-exist and learn more about each other, FWBK creates an opportunity for them to develop together.

However, in recent years, gender-based violence against women in Kenya has been well-documented. Between 2016 and 2023, more than 500 women, mostly below the age of 35, were killed by intimate partners or acquaintances, according to Amnesty International Kenya.

"I think the initiative is enlightening them because they are open to sharing. They are not afraid of boys anymore. They take them as people who can solve their problems because they do everything together. The boys also see the girls as their sisters. So I think openness brings courage to these girls," he shared.

George disclosed that alongside the organisation’s focus on creating self-sustainable agriculture where the children in the programme can fund their education by selling their produce, the organisation also established an initiative to help girls make reusable ‘period panties’ to enable them to attend school during their menstruation period after it was discovered as a reason for low performance among girls within the community.

FWBK- Osoya instructing students
FWBK- reusable Sanitary pads

“When we found out the girls were not performing so well, and each day of the month, they were missing in their classes. We came up with the initiative to help them come to school. We did it locally with the raw materials,” he said.

Watch this interview:

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