GPF Tanzania Advocate for Guidelines to Prevent Violence Against Women in Sports

Naomi MacMurdie
December 20, 2023
A group of people sitting around a table discussing Design Guidelines.

Tanzanian athletes, coaches, and managers meet to discuss safeguarding guidelines in Tanzanian football.

Throughout November 2023, Global Peace Foundation (GPF) Tanzania collaborated with local stakeholders and women’s football clubs in Dar es Salaam to advocate for adopting safeguarding guidelines in response to a widespread problem of violence against women and girls in sports.

GPF Tanzania collaborated with members of the Technical Working Group, including representatives from the Tanzania Football Federation, Tanzania Women Football Association, National Sports Council, Tanzania Football Coaches Association, Masala Princess CEO, and Evergreen Queens General Secretary. Together, the advocate team visited eleven women’s football clubs for productive meetings and dialogue with coaches, managers, and athletes.

A group of people sitting around a table discussing Design Guidelines.

GPF Tanzania meets with Tanzanian football club coaches and managers.

Recognizing the detrimental impact of community social norms on female players, which contribute to stigma and violence against women, GPF Tanzania implemented a targeted intervention to address these challenges in the context of promoting Women’s Football in Tanzania.

A capacity-building workshop was held on November 3, 2023, at the GPF Tanzania office, where coaches and managers from diverse football clubs engaged in dialogue using a unique intervention guide known as VCAT (values clarification and attitude transformation). VCAT is designed to facilitate participatory dialogue, creating a safe environment that encourages participants to engage in honest, open-minded, and critically reflective conversations. The guide enables coaches and managers to address challenging topics, identify obstacles, explore potential solutions, and evaluate circumstances leading to the recurrence of incidents of violence against women. Ultimately, it supports developing a robust system to eliminate such incidents, fostering positive change from the individual to the club level.

Throughout the engaging sessions, coaches and managers raised critical concerns regarding the causes of gender-based violence in football. Economic factors emerged as a significant issue, with some female footballers facing violence due to challenging economic circumstances. A notable shortfall in awareness education on players’ rights and responsibilities was identified, particularly among leaders, coaches, and managers. The absence of safe and specific reporting spaces for incidents was highlighted as a contributing factor, emphasizing the need for structured mechanisms. Additionally, the lack of power separation at the club level, where team CEOs also assume coaching roles, was noted as a potential source of misuse of power and lack of accountability measures.

A group of people sitting at a table discussing Design Guidelines for GPF Tanzania to Prevent Violence Against Women.

Training session on values clarification and attitude transformation.

Participants underscored the importance of enhancing education on violence against women issues for both players and leaders. Moreover, the session shed light on the crucial need for reported case feedback from responsible authorities such as the Tanzania Football Federation or the respective clubs to facilitate a more comprehensive approach to addressing and preventing violence against women in football.

Further meetings in November implemented training for both male and female football coaches and managers, who will pass on education to their respective football teams and clubs.

A meeting was held on November 28 at the Tanzania Football Federation conference hall to gather feedback on the training programs and support an ongoing plan of action addressing the creation of guidelines protecting women’s safe participation in football. Organizers pointed to several key accomplishments during the meeting, including a successful one-month mentorship program with journalists, resulting in the publication of five articles addressing community stigma in prominent newspapers.

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