One of our very own from Kenya, Rachel Muthoga, the Executive Director of Moving the Goalposts has been awarded the Laureus Sport for Good Award on the 19th of April. Moving the Goalposts (MTG), is a community-based organization, established in 2001 that works with girls and young women in Kilifi and Kwale Counties in Kenya. The award was announced by athletics champion David Rudisha and handed over by Football legend Luis Figo in Berlin Germany, at the Laureus World Sports Awards dubbed as the ‘Oscars for Sport’.
MTG is recognized as an innovative and unique sport and development project for girls and young women. Its vision is that girls and young women’s human rights are realized and protected. Using football, MTG aims to reinforce and promote the voice, impact and influence of girls and young women in the rural settings of Kilifi and Kwale County and in Kenya. The organization currently works with about 5000 girls and young women between 9 and 25 years.
The question remains, how exactly do you bring football-a sport that’s highly considered masculine-and women’s rights together? The community based organization places girls together in a safe space where they can play football, organize their own activities, become leaders and discuss issues that help the overall growth of girls in the two counties. Football in this case, provides girls with opportunities to excel. Tunaweza (We can!), a slogan similar to that of Obama’s, is what they use as motivation.
Activities include football leagues that run every year between March and October, organized by MTG girls in nearly 50 fields in Kilifi and Kwale County. There are also annual tournaments. There is also a leadership programme for girls where girls are trained to tackle various leadership roles such as coaches, referees, and field leaders. Sexual, reproductive health and rights education, including individual and group counseling
The organization also involves parents and stakeholders; during MTG parents meetings, training and community events increase the support, and improve how the community views girls and women. There is also economic empowerment to build girls’ capacity to become self-sufficient and possibly self-reliant through training, teaching the importance of savings, educational support and career guidance.
Rachel Muthoga has been an advocate of the High Court of Kenya, with over 7 years of experience. Despite being the Executive Director of MTG, she is also a member of the Independent Medico-Legal Unit Justice Network, a group of human rights defenders. She is an active civic educator and trainer on women’s rights.