Monday, February 16, 2009

The Hope for Girls Project: Empowering Girls Through Basketball

Have I mentioned that Today on STV is one way in which I find out about things happening around town?

Well, on this morning's show a young lady and an older gentleman (shame, I can't remember their names now) were interviewed about an initiative, which they coordinate called the Hope for Girls Project. HFGP seeks to mentor and empower young women using basketball. This is about the second such project I have heard of in Nigeria using sports to reach out to young people (I heard about the first also on Today on STV, but that was focused on boys, if I remember correctly).

The very first time I heard about using sports to educate, empower and mentor young women was in Nairobi last year with the Binti Initiative, which brought young women together to play football matches, and afterwards shared with them information on sexual and reproductive health.

Back to the HFGP interview, the young lady called Bola used to play for the First Bank women's basketball team. She now works as a financial analyst for ESPN in the US, but is still involved with HFGP. This year they will hold their first basketball and empowerment camp for young women between 11 and 19 (I think!).

I was very impressed with the way she spoke about the need to impress on young Nigerian women of their worth, especially in a society that does not frequently appreciate them and where their value tends to stem from external factors like family, marriage and children.

Ireti Doyle countered that very often how we are treated is a direct result of how we carry ourselves and that perhaps Nigerian sportswomen weren't demanding for their rights. Bola responded that typically female athletes aren't in a position to demand for *anything* and this is even more so in Nigeria with its unequal treatment of men and women (And this is on top of the general lack of support for sports that affects both sexes).

More for information about the Hope for Girls Project, email or get in touch with Today at STV.

Update: A link found for this project,

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