Moving The Goal Posts
Position: Executive Director
Dorcas is Development Expert, with experience in Community Development, Human Rights, Organization Growth and Sustainability. She has a passion for influencing communities and spaces to be gender equitable. With over 10years experience and work with non-governmental organization, she has directly worked with people, communities and institutions. Dorcas is currently leading vision strategy and growth at Moving the Goalposts a unique sport for
development organization which uses football to advocate and advance the rights of adolescent girls and young women from rural communities in Kenya’s Coast region.
She serves on a number of boards; Board member Imarika Foundation, Director and Trustee at the Center for Sports and Human Rights a global human rights organization for the world of sport that advances Sporting Chance principles.
Dorcas holds a BSc Degree in Environmental Studies, Community Development option, Diploma in Governance and Natural Resource Management, Project Management, certificate in Business
management and in social work.
She is an African Visionary fellow, 2019 Vital Voices-Fortune 500 and US state department Leadership fellow. 2013 alumni of Feminist leadership, movement building and rights institute East Africa.
How are women, girls, and sexual minorities navigating African sporting spaces?
There’s no proper documentation and reporting of the number of women participating in sport and recreation activities both at grassroot and elite levels. As women progress and engage in competitive sport in the Country; school’s colleges and sports association and elite level where they sign to play elite/professional sport verifiable gender disaggregated data of the number of women participating in sport is still very hard to find. This has contributed to the lack of planning and resourcing for girls and women participation in sport in the country.
Sports for development organizations and sporting clubs in Kenya have made progress in collecting data and running adolescent girls and young women programs that have provided a benchmark for planning and resourcing of sporting activities for women and girls as they push for the same to happen at a more national level and outlook.
Moving The Goalposts (MTG) works to dismantle systemic issues that stem from and perpetuate gender inequality in the coastal region of Kenya, namely discrimination, violence and harmful practices against girls and women. Concurrently, MTG provides girls and women with education, sexual and reproductive health information and services, and leadership opportunities for their full and active participation and decision-making in society.
MTG uses football as its tool to work on these gender equality issues. Football was intentionally chosen to convey the message that girls/women can take up a sport and roles that are otherwise considered appropriate for boys/men, thereby normalizing girls and women in such roles and reducing stigma and discrimination. MTG runs a school fee awards scheme for girls attending the program proven to incentivize parents to allow girls to attend school and play football. When girls stay in school it is proven to reduce instances of violence and harmful practices, including unwanted/early pregnancies and marriage. Furthermore, football trainings are combined with sexual and reproductive health and life skills education, which educates girls and women on their rights, bodies, community services. MTG embeds leadership into all aspects of its work – proven to elevate participants future prospects and change community mindsets on gender roles.
MTG runs programs on open grounds, school and communities’ fields in many villages in the coastal region. MTG conducts enrollment and parental consent at the start of each program and then girls are assigned to groups according to their age (9 – 10 years, 11 – 13 years, and 14 – 25 years). MTG conducts twice-yearly weeklong residential leadership camps for leaders who are assigned to each program venue to oversee day-to-day running and support of program delivery. Venue leaders work alongside a committee that comprises the team captains, peer educator, referee, coach, first aider, and a representative with a disability. Each committee prepares its annual fixtures for all activities and leagues to take place at their respective venue throughout the year.
Every girl enrolled with MTG participates in a minimum of one weekly practice, league match and sexual and reproductive health education session in their respective age group. This is the same for girls who have disabilities who participate in adapted programs. MTG provides a scholarship awards scheme for girls to enroll and complete all levels of education and MTG supports each girl through this process. Additionally, MTG runs a special program for young women which includes entrepreneurship skills and saving groups.
To date Moving The Goalposts has had made significant progress towards ending all forms of discrimination through football; MTG has established 51 secure, safe spaces (fields) where girls/young women play sport and practice leadership to thrive and change community attitudes about women in sport. MTG ensures that all girls attend school, return to education after delivering a baby, or take up entrepreneurial activities to sustain themselves and their families. This commitment has facilitated the presence of girls/women in new spheres previously unavailable to them. Examples: MTG girls/women are nowadays called upon to officiate football matches, including for boys (in 2020 alone 422 girls took up leadership roles as coaches, referees, Safeguarders); 20% of participants have secured employment; 30% run viable businesses; and many girls/women now stand Infront of public gatherings and communities to speak and vie for elective positions.
Towards the elimination of harmful practices and universal access to sexual reproductive health, MTG annual survey results showed that 82% of girls enhanced knowledge to prevent pregnancy, up from 47% recorded in 2020 and 76% understood reproductive changes occurring in their bodies, up from 67% in 2020. MTG contributed to Kilifi County Gender Policy and Adolescent Sexual Reproductive Health and HIV Strategy which comprise workable strategies for teenage pregnancy and gender-based violence.