Goldman Sachs Gives ISF Girls Tournament 2019
On Saturday, 23rd February, over 360 young female players from provinces across Cambodia will travel to the ISF Sports Ground in Phnom Penh to compete in ISF’s 10th annual Girls’ Tournament, a day focused on celebrating women’s inclusion in sport.
“I believe that football is a powerful agent of social change not just because of its ability to unify people but also because of its potential to teach important life skills” said Vicheka Chourp, ISF’s country manager, speaking at the event. ISF is an award-winning Cambodian organisation that aims to empower local youth through education and football. After ten years with the organisation, Chourp has seen first-hand how participation in football has changed lives in the community where she works in Phnom Penh, Cambodia’s capital.
Before ISF started running its annual Girls’ Tournament, there were no official organised opportunities for girls to play football in Cambodia. Since the programme’s inception, ISF’s provision of football for female players has grown from 48 players in 2008 to over 1,600 in 2019 and they now employ three female coaches. ISF has been a pioneer of women’s football in the country and seek to continue to foster gender equality and social inclusion through sport.
The partnership between ISF and Goldman Sachs Gives seeks to promote education and sport in communities marked by extreme poverty; empowering female players to challenge gender stereotypes and discrimination, and providing opportunities for personal development, peer-to-peer education and mentoring through coaching. Based on her own experience, ISF coach Sok Ranya recognises female participation in events like the annual Girls’ Tournament as “very important because it supports the promotion of gender equality in Cambodian society”.
Chourp explains: “In Cambodia, girls are less likely than boys to participate in sport, which continues to be dominated by males. However, our research in local communities demonstrates that there is significant will and interest from girls to play football but that poverty, domestic expectations, cultural traditions and stereotypes prevent their participation. Through the Goldman Sachs Gives – ISF Girls’ Tournament, we aim to increase girls’ access to competitive matches. This year, teams of female players from across Cambodia trained hard to develop their skills in order to join the tournament. Players competed with determination, supported one another other and learnt how to challenge themselves as well as enjoy themselves.”