Monday, June 3, 2013

Who says football is a man’s game?!

My name is Getrude Iminza and I am 23 years old. I was born and raised in Kakamega town in Western Kenya. My two sisters and I were brought up by my loving grandmother who is visually impaired. I later moved to Nairobi to stay with relatives where I completed my secondary education. In 2011, I was appointed as the Assistant Coach of Binti United FC, a girls’ team sponsored by Young Women's Leadership Institute (YWLI). I am also currently a student at Nairobi Aviation College, where I am undertaking a course in community development and social work.  My favorite football player is Patrice Evra, who is also the captain of my favorite team Manchester United Football club.

A few years ago my close friend was recruited as a player for Binti United FC.  I have always loved watching and playing football, so she invited me to attend a training session and match with the team. During the match I had an opportunity to talk to some of the players on the team. They shared stories of how playing football transformed their lives, how the Binti team was formed, and the sponsors of the team. I admired the commitment in the players and asked the coach how I could join them. Many of my friends and relatives did not support my decision to play football because many people still have the mentality that football is a man’s game. I would love to see the society shift its thoughts, accept and create space for women’s football in Kenya. Until this day I continue to work at YWLI and play for the team.
Through my interaction with YWLI, my leadership capabilities have grown. I have learnt to communicate better and interact with people from diverse backgrounds. I have also attended several self empowerment and motivational talks that helped me learn the importance of setting goals and working towards achieving them. One of the hurdles I faced was to return to college to further my studies despite not having finances.
 I believe that I am a leader in my community, and as a leader, I should act as mentor, help young girls have access to the correct information on sexual and reproductive health rights,  share skills and knowledge that I gain as a coach and peer educator with young women and girls in Kawangware.
My motivation comes from working with the adolescent girls in the Binti United FC team. When I see the Binti girls fighting to pursue their dreams, attaining scholarships, completing their O-level education and getting an opportunity to play in the Kenya’s National Women’s Football Team, I know the work I am doing with girls and young women in the community is making a difference in their lives.
My number one dream is to see a world that is peaceful: free from war and discrimination. I would also like every woman to appreciate herself and never apologize for being who she is”  Getrude Iminza – Binti United FC

Young Women's Leadership Institute (YWLI) is one of the four partner institutes of the African Centers of Excellence (ACE) for Women's Leadership program run by the Institute of International Education (IIE) , Ethiopia Office.

For more on IIE , ACE or YWLI please follow the links below.