Randolph-Macon Women's Soccer "Playing for Peace" Game
Organized by: Sarah Nieburg
EVENT DATE Oct 17, 2015
On Saturday, October 17rd, Randolph-Macon Women's Soccer team will be hosting a fundraiser for their "Playing for Peace" campaign during their last home game against Guilford College at 4:00pm
"Playing for Peace" is a partnered project between RMC Women's soccer and recent soccer alumnae Sarah Nieburg, a graduate of the class of 2015.
During the summer of 2014, Nieburg received a grant through Randolph-Macon with the Davis Project for Peace foundation that enabled her to travel to Ghana to partner with the non-profit Right to Play in creating a program titled "Playing for Peace: Gender Empowerment through Soccer".
The goal of the project was to empower girls and young women through soccer to overcome the effects of conflict and gender inequality. The use of soccer was meant to help create gender equalization as well as increase community and institutional support for girls’ participation in sports and education.
Nieburg worked with Right To Play, a well-established international Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) that has an office in Tamale, Northern Ghana. Nieburg selected two teams and visited communities to meet with the girls and other stakeholder groups to get a deeper understanding of socio-cultural beliefs that prevent females from participating in sporting activities, such as soccer.
After the initial research put into place with the teams and community members, Nieburg set out to accomplish four main goals:
(2) Capacity building
(3) Provision of sports equipment for the girls’ teams
(4) An income generation activity that was sustainable and was meant to continue once she departed from Ghana.
Overall the impact Nieburg had directly affected almost 200 girls and young women soccer players and about 1500 parents, teachers and other stakeholders are also benefitting from the program indirectly.
Nieburg's time in Ghana was spent hosting soccer clinics with coaches to talk about the benefits of women in sports, and hosting training sessions with the two teams. The training sessions were used to show the teams soccer skills and drills but also talk about the problems that they were facing in school, at home, and in their personal lives.
Towards the end of Nieburg’s time in Ghana, a final game was held, where the two girls’ teams played against one another in a big tournament event, with over 1,000 people from both communities in attendance. Prior to the game there were various speakers from each community, including the chiefs from each district, most of the parents of each girl playing, and local government leaders. For the game, donations and sports gear purchased with the grant were given out for use and for the teams to keep afterwards.The gear was inclusive of five soccer balls, a set of cones, training pinnies, a set of 16 jerseys with socks and shorts, a set of 11 soccer cleats, 11 pairs of shin guards, and 25 sports bras to each team.
After the trip, in the Spring of 2015, Nieburg received the "Stuart and Pepper Laughon Commitment to Community Award" from Randolph-Macon and donated the $1,000 award to the women's soccer team. This award, paired with a generous gift of $3,000 from Stuart and Pepper Laughon themselves, is going to be used in conjunction with the money raised from this fundraiser to send Sarah back to Ghana later this year to continue the work she started.
The extreme success of her project and her passion is what’s truly driving Nieburg to continue her work. Nieburg, now currently a full time employee with Right To Play at their US Office in New York, will return to Tamale, Ghana in January 2016 for two weeks to really expand on the project by provide more gear and training sessions to the teams she had worked with previously and continuing working with the communities on embracing gender empowerment. Nieburg believes that women should have every right to follow their dreams in sports and in life. If enough money is raised, she plans on opening up the program and expanding to a third women’s team in the area.
For more information on what Sarah did in Ghana, check out her blog posts and the photos below!
Thank you for your support! We hope to see you at the field!