Building confidence and skills (and having fun!): Everton Football Club visit Girls’ Clubs in Kenya

19 July 2019 by Alicia Mills and Zainab Dhanani, Portfolio Managers – Horn of Africa, GEC

On Saturday 6 July, the UKAid funded Girls' Education Challenge (GEC) Education Development Trust (EDT) “Let our Girls Succeed” project team were incredibly excited to receive a visit from Premier League football team Everton FC. As part of their three-day tour to Kenya, culminating in a match against a national side on Sunday, Everton brought along not one but six of their star players and their club ambassador (Everton legend Graeme Sharp) to come and see three of EDT's Girls' Clubs in action and play football with the girls.

Let our Girls Succeed is working with upto 70,000 highly marginalised girls living in arid and semi-arid lands and slum areas in Kenya. It is providing primary school girls with the qualifications, skills and confidence necessary to successfully transition to a productive next phase of life. Through improved teaching quality, the majority of girls are expected to transition to secondary level education. Other girls are also supported to transition to alternative pathways focused on employment and technical and vocational education and training (TVET) to ensure that no girl is left behind.

Just after lunchtime three of the women's first team arrived and jogged straight into the action from the bus, keen to get involved with the children who were singing and dancing as part of their regular icebreaker sessions. The Everton players Gabrielle George, Danielle Turner and Simone Magill got involved in everything from the dancing icebreakers to the netball game, to the football sessions right through to the child rights conversations where girls told the players about the kinds of things they talk about in their girls’ club session. Joined later by members of the Everton men’s team, there was a lot of laughing and celebratory screams as the girls managed to defend against the players, receive passes from them and even score!

For all the girls, this was the first time they were meeting female sports stars. As the GEC and EDT teams made sure girls set off for home on time, the Everton group left the grounds, but not before the players and management team told us what a great afternoon it had been. It was a really special day for the girls, with hopefully many inspired to become top sportswomen themselves!

With thanks to Everton Football Club for the images