In challenging the community beliefs that undermine women's participation in football in Tanzania, Organization for Community Development (OCODE), a non-governmental organization, currently provides an opportunity for talented girls who may wish to make football their career.
The OCODE operates the project under one of the organization's programs, which aims to promote and facilitate the use of sports as a developmental tool among out-of-school adolescent girls and school-going children in primary schools.
The organization has organized a football competition for more than 150 girls in Kibamba District, Dar es Salaam.
The OCODE Program Officer, Jeremiah Mmbena, disclosed the tournament, known as the 'Inter Bonga Competition', is part of a 10-month circle project that empowers out-of-school adolescent youths aged 13–19 who, due to various reasons, have not progressed in the formal education system.
Mmbena revealed the tournament includes girls who are in the organization program and who wish to make football their career.
The official noted: ''The Inter Bonga Competition kicked off on November 15, bringing together 10 girls' teams aiming at helping them make the most of their talent.''
"The event further seeks to see to it the youngsters form a network within themselves and expose their talents to the community and other football stakeholders who were invited to the tournament."
Irene Peter Pela, aged 19, one of the footballers that took part in the tournament, expressed her happiness over getting the chance.
She disclosed: ''I can now play football the same way boys do and I am enjoying what I am doing."
"Football has become part of me and I have realized that my body is stronger and fit now."
"Football has enabled me to network with different people in different leagues such as Dar es Salaam Women league, East Africa virtual competitions which all together have increased my self-esteem."
"They have further enhanced my understanding on various issues such as Poverty, Sexual Reproductive Health, Hygiene, and Sanitation, following the follow-up seminars held after the tournaments."
Stephania Kabula, Tanzania Football Federation (TFF) women soccer official, who graced trophy handover ceremony, stated: “We are so impressed with such an organization like OCODE which decided to empower girls' participation in soccer."
Stephania noted: ''I know that girls have so many ways to be empowered so they should focus on soccer since there are a lot of opportunities and one might get employment through soccer."