The FIFA Women’s World Cup offers huge opportunity to showcase the beautiful game, to create outstanding role models for girls around the world and to raise the profile and potential of women’s sport further still.
But more than that, football offers a ‘lingua franca’ that can empower girls worldwide to engage in community sport, build posture, confidence, and positive movement skills, all of which can be applied to take themselves into leadership positions.
The Women’s Sports Network (WSNet) has recently launched FOOTBALLMoJo (FMJ) – and are giving away free digital copies during the World Cup. FMJ is a self-help manual to help girls overcome some of the many issues they face as they engage in competitive football. It covers physical/core strength and examines why girls ‘throw like girls’. FOOTBALLMoJo also covers a wide range of softer issues such as body image, anxiety, diet, social media, breast health, ‘fit or thin’, training with menstruation, coach attitude, and more.
WSNet is now working with other not-for-profit organisations in disadvantaged communities in Brazil, China, Nepal, KwaZulu-Natal and South Africa to produce local language versions of FOOTBALLMoJo in Portuguese, Nepali, Zulu, Xhosa and Mandarin. This involves adapting text and pictures for local, cultural and religious differences.
Football really is one big family around the world - it’s not only great exercise and fun to play as a community team, but also is a great leveller. WSNet is working with Atoot in Nepal , where Sarah Van Vooren, the founder, tells us that “football can help girls be more robust and overcome the issues they still face from Chhaupadi (female exclusion during menstruation)” says Paul Reynolds, the CEO and co-founder of WSNet.
The work in KwaZulu-Natal is helping girls in rural communities in South Africa engage with sport - “the first thing we have to teach girls at our foundation is often menstrual hygiene” says Dumisani Chauke. “We’re now translating into Zulu with the help of WSNet and it’s giving girls the confidence to think about being leaders both in their sport and their careers.”
In Cape Town FMJ is helping community football groups like The Remarkables and Badgers Academy. Romaney Pinnock from Badgers Academy and Taz Raza from The Remarkables see FOOTBALLMoJo as a way to help ease girls at risk away from gang culture in the townships and make them part of the wider football family. Whilst in China, Angela Smith is running a football academy supported by Stoke City Football Club in the UK – with the help of FMJ.
- You can get a free digital copy of FOOTBALLMoJo (In English) by registering on the WSNet website. MoJoManuals are part of WSNet’s HerMojo, Empowerment through Sport initiative
- If you would like to access to FOOTBALLMoJo (or any other of WSNet’s, ‘Open Source’ MANUALS content - currently FOOTBALLMoJo, NETBALLMoJo, LACROSSEMoJo, and ROWMoJo) to modify/translate for your local community please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. There’s no charge and many of our associates are using MoJoManuals to as collateral to help engage with sponsors in support of women’s sports projects around the world