Supporting Girls Soccer Teams in Iraqi-Kurdistan and Syria

More and more girls in Kurdish Northern Iraq wish to play football. As unusual as it may seem at first glance: Girls’ football is widely accepted and hardly felt to be morally objectionable, even among conservative families. Some frankly admit to be proud of the achievements of their daughter on the soccer field. For the girls the sport is a welcome opportunity to leave the house, meet with their peers and be active.

However, there are many more applicants than existing clubs are able to absorb. Thus, new teams form on their own initiative, but they do not get any support, in contrast to the established clubs that are affiliated to the political parties and financed by them. The new girls’ teams have difficulties to get training time on the soccer field and come up with the fees. Even the transport to the sports ground often constitutes a considerable challenge when it is more remote. The girls have neither solid equipment nor experienced coaches and managers.

Given the shady system in which some clubs are promoted by political parties, while many others not even get official registration, the latter need our support – especially the football playing girls. Football is a great way for girls to escape the omnipresent gender roles, at least temporarily, thereby to gain strength and self-confidence and develop own ideas of a life beyond the rigid demands of tradition.

Currently WADI is organizing together with Halabja Team the “You can’t beat them” campaign promoting the Law Nr. 8 against domestic violence in Iraqi-Kurdistan.

In cooperation with the organizations WomenWin and Hivos, Wadi supports girls’ football teams in Halabja, Raniya, Qaladize, Goptapa and Kalar in Iraqi-Kurdistan and one in Darbassiye in Syria.