“Football is something that everyone can relate to. If your daughter could play football just like your son, you would accept that women have the same rights as men. Their progress could transform individuals – and if you can change enough individuals, you will be able to change society.”
This is what Cecilia Andrén Nyström believes.
She founded Futebol da Forca in Mozambique in 2012. Her organisation’s aim is to strengthen girls’ self-confidence and to provide them with tools and knowledge to enable them to create a better future for themselves.
“Our vision is to change prevailing attitudes, structures and norms that today prevent girls from realising themselves and reaching their full potential,” Cecilia Andrén Nyström says and continues:
“With football as a platform for change we reach great results with great impact at all levels in society, at a low cost, and create sustainable and inclusive development – starting on the football field and further in life.”
And Futebol da Force is achieving results. More than 8,000 girls have started playing football in Mozambique – and more girls are playing in Zambia.
“The girls now have a completely different status. Before the football pitches were only for the boys, but now they’re being occupied by the girls as well. They are becoming a meeting place for girls who are realising that they are no longer alone,” Cecilia Andrén Nyström explains.
“Now they are brave enough to speak, ask questions and move around in the often harsh urban environments. Football therefore has great symbolic value, and it is transforming from a traditionally male sport into something else –something that actually gives girls self-confidence,” Cecilia Andrén Nyström says.
The next step for Futebol da Force is to establish itself in Brazil.