Innovations Overview

Sports for Development

Technology for Development


Galz & Goals

Empowering young girls through football and healthy lifestyles

© UNICEFNamibia/2015/D.Barihuta

What is the initiative about?

Launched towards the end of 2009, Galz & Goals is the first national project of its kind. Through the Namibian Football Association’s women’s desk dedicated under-13 and under-15 girls football leagues have been established across the nation. Through the leagues , girls are able to play organized football on a weekly basis and partake in  healthy lifestyles activities and health information sessions. The leagues are run by volunteer coaches recruited from the respective community. Girls are attracted and retained into the programme through festivals and special events. Talented girls can be scouted and  participate in high-profile international competitions.

Who are we targeting?

Although football is by far the most popular sport in Namibia, there is a lack of opportunities for young girls to partake in organized sports. In addition women and young girls are disproportional affected by the HIV epidemic. Galz & Goals targets girls from the ages of 10-14. As one of the motto’s of the programme states: “girls can play too!”

What do we want to see?

We would like to see girls given the space to grow as individuals in a safe and nurturing environment and to enjoy themselves through the sport of football. We know that young girls are at a particular sensitive and crucial phase of their development, as they make their way from childhood to adolescence. Thus, it is especially important to support the girls to navigate through this tricky stage of their lives so they can grow into confident, self-respecting and responsible women. In this respect, the Galz & Goals project is about much more than just playing soccer!

What has been achieved?

Since G&G launch at the end of 2009, around 2,600 girls have been exposed to the programme and healthy lifestyle activities through football festivals. The number of girls in the programme has increased and now stands at over 3,000 girls who now regularly play in the Galz & Goals league. G&G leagues are currently conducted in 8 regions across the country.

International recognition

In the last quarter of 2010, the Galz & Goals initiative gained international recognition when it was awarded the ‘Sporting Federation of the Year’ award at the Beyond Sports Summit in Chicago. Receiving the renowned S4D award has raised the profile of the initiative at both the national and international levels.

In addition the initiative has managed to attract much needed funding from various donors.

Global #TeamUNICEF Galz & Goals Music Video

Inspired by UNICEF’s work on promoting children’s rights through sport and play, UNICEF Namibia joined the global #teamUNICEF collaboration around sports, during the time of the 2014 World Cup, by producing a video focusing on the Galz & Goals programme and the experiences of adolescent girls on and off the football field. This placed the global spotlight on the Galz & Goals programme and gave further visibility to the successes Galz & Goals has seen over the past 5 years.

The video features the song ‘Goddess’ by the up and coming US musician BANKS. Most of the girls who take part in Galz and Goals come from vulnerable families experiencing lots of social challenges. Indeed, many of the scenarios in the video are real challenges the respective girls have had to overcome in their own lives. Filmed on location in Windhoek, Namibia - including the Katutura where the football scenes were filmed.

The Galz & Goals video produced in 2014, was nominated as a finalist for The Shorty Awards in the Best Social Good Campaign category.

Find out more about UNICEF's work on sport and children's right to play:

G&G, S4D



 Email this article

unite for children