Dorcas Amakobe : ‘Moving the goalposts,’ one ball at a time

What is your childhood and education background?

I was raised by a grandmother with the support of my mother’s sisters. My grandmother was a very inspirational woman in my life. She always told us that getting an education is the solution to being successful in life. She believed in good education, she enrolled me in a very good private nursery school in my local town; Happy Day Nursery school, where I was indeed happy and this school was the beginning of a great foundation. My family was able to support me to pursue a certificate course in social work. When I started working, I was able to sponsor myself and to date, I am a graduate of Pwani University, where I graduated with a Bachelor of Environmental Studies (Community Development). I hold a Diploma in Governance and Development from MSTCDC in Arusha Tanzania and another in Project Management from Kenya Institute of Management (KIM).

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How did you start your work with ‘Moving the goalposts?’

I started work at Moving The Goalposts in 2009, after participating in one of the trainings as a first aid facilitator. I learnt of a vacancy and I was attracted to work with the organization because I was inspired by the girls I trained who wanted to know more about first aid and who I connected with and realized that I shared a lot of similarities with; grew up in the rural village, the girls had dreams and were willing to pursue them.

What is your involvement with the organisation?

I am the Executive Director of ‘Moving the goalposts.’  I provide overall direction, leadership and guidance to ensure achievement of the organization’s mission vision, goal and strategic results.

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Describe the impact soccer has on young women. How does it mould them into responsible adults?

A girl born into a poor family in Kenya’s Coast region inevitably enters a cycle of poverty. Girls in these families are less likely to be educated than her brothers, less likely to access the health care she needs, less likely to control family finances or inherit land, and less likely to have a voice in the social and political systems that will shape her life. A girl growing up in a rural coastal household is faced with a shrinking world, with fewer choices, rather than expanding opportunities. Moving The Goalposts introduction of soccer turns these tables by proving girls with an opportunity to play football. During this program girls understand lessons about health and life skills which are  delivered with sport, they are able  to develop relationships by playing soccer a team sport which is important for  girls’ development. Playing soccer provides girls with opportunities to access quality education,help’s  break the generational cycle of poverty because opportunities of  higher education and employment are brought closer, girls perform better in school and are better  retained. They feel more confident about their bodies and themselves and translate the leadership abilities acquired in the sports programme to their communities.

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A survey conducted by an external evaluator to assess the impact of MTG program  to assess the following factors pertinent in the development of a girl into an adult. Future skills, specific personal skills, leading skills,daily routines and working with others were key indicators analysed with the following conclusion that MTG is especially successful to improve the participants personality and future skills.

 

Future skills

87% of MTG population stated that participating in MTG programs promotes access  to education.

87% said that after joining the program they became  more eager to learn  than before, 86% said that they are now thinking about long term goals and planning, 88% are able to prepare for the future, e.g. apprenticeship.

Specific personal skills

The survey showed that 88% of MTG girls are able to deal better with conflicts, 82% have created an interest in foreign countries and their culture , 82% have increased their confidence in their own strengths and skills, 90% are able to fulfill their dreams and 92% have gained and increased confidence in own strengths and skills, 91% get a bigger sense of responsibility and 83% learn how to take care of younger kids.

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MTG participants are inspired to take action – almost all girls and young women participate at least once a week in the program and are eager to convince friends to participate in the program too.

“I like sport and I would never stop liking it because it is part of my life”- MTG girl

 In 2015, an interview with parents of MTG girls was also able to reveal the rate of satisfaction and confidence parents had with regard to their daughter’s participation in the program. Parents are very positive about their daughters playing football.

 

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One of the mothers says: ‘There are many changes that my daughter has undergone since she joined MTG and I’m very happy about the programme. Nowadays she is able to express herself confidently without any fear. This has led her to be appointed as a prefect in school.’

82% of the parents see that their daughters have improved decision-making skills in issues on education, career and relationships with boys. They can also see that girls are better in planning for household chores and farming activities. 96% of the parents agree or strongly agree that their daughters are able to lead activities. They see their daughters being leaders in their families, church and becoming role models for other girls. All parents agree that they listen to their daughters and trust them. This trust also extends to 90% of the community, according to the parents.

 

From surveys that MTG has carried out the MTG participants, it has become clear that 79% of the MTG girls know more about sexual reproductive health since they have joined the programme.

One of the fathers: ‘The change that I have seen in my daughter has changed my perception about girls. I see them now to be as important as the male child is. I would not have done what I did for my daughter if MTG had had no impact on the girls’ lives. It is her involvement in the programme and the impact it has made that made my attitude towards girls change.’

Staff football practice
Staff football practice

What have been the high and low moments for ‘Moving the goalposts?’

Winning global and regional awards and tournaments 2016 Laureus Sport For Good Award,2015 Beyond Sport UNICEF Award, 2015 Safeguarding Children in Sport Award  and the  YEF Africa/International Labour Organization Youth Enterprise Facility award 2015 for its Outstanding work towards using football for sports for development. In 2017, Global Goals Africa champions, MTG staff and under 16 team won the fair play cups during Uwazi tournament and East Africa Cup Moshi. MTG was also proud when one of it’s Alumni Esse Mbeyu Akida was feted Heroine of Kilifi County and recognized top among the top 10: Africa’s greatest women soccer players in the world today, top scorer at the COTIF women’s tournament in Spain and claimed the golden boot at the 2016 Cecafa Women’s tournament.See link https://www.standardmedia.co.ke/sports/article/2000224066/all-eyes-on-akida-as-kenya-makes-african-women-cup-of-nations-debut-against-ghana. 

Another High is when Parents of MTG girls particularly fathers commit to take care of their grandchild so that their daughter can go back to school.

One of the lowest moments for MTG was in 2015 when Imperial Bank was placed under receivership and this affected programming, gender stereotypes, girls getting pregnant due to transactional sex, when we receive a report that a girl below 18 years is no longer attending school because she is pregnant.

One ball at a time
One ball at a time

Who are the greatest supporters of the organization?

Parents, girls, teachers, local leaders, government, sports for development  partners, donors and the Coast region communities.

What other initiatives are you involved in?

I support an environment initiative in Kilifi, I am a Sunday school teacher and community rehabilitation activist.

What do you remember most about your twenties and what would you like to tell other 20 year olds?

I have two daughters 16 year old and a 1 and a half year old. Had my first born daughter at 25 years, a very critical age when you are at the peak of your career development; you have a whole range of opportunities available for professional growth. At 20 it’s important to stay focused on your goal; a lot of distractions can put you off balance. You only experience 20’s once in your life. It’s important for one to navigate this age wisely so that you don’t regret in future. Connect with peers likely to influence you positively and have mentors older than you who will constantly guide you to stick on the right path.

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What do you hope to achieve in the near future?

Increase the visibility and influence of Moving the Goalposts as a rights based organization tackling gender inequality in Kenya.

 

 

 

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4 thoughts on “Dorcas Amakobe : ‘Moving the goalposts,’ one ball at a time

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