Monday, November 3, 2014

My name is Pauline Atieno and I am 19 years old. If I could describe myself in three words, I would say; smart, driven and respectful. I started playing football at an early age till this day I still get an adrenaline rush every time I play or even thinking about it.  I began playing football in 2007 for Binti Football Club while still in primary school at that time we were only 6 girls on team. When Binti started, many girls were not playing football because most of our parents did not want us to play football. They thought it would distract us from our studies and household chores or make us engage in “bad things”. Later on my mother came to realize that I was a talented footballer and football was not going to prevent me from working hard in school.
Being in Binti has been a great experience for me. Being the only girl in my family it was Binti that gave me other sisters who I can share my experiences with. I have been exposed to different people and places. I have gone for learning exchanges with girls from various parts on the country and I came to realise that many adolescent girls experience similar challenges. Through Binti I was able to secure a scholarship to study at Matuu Girls High school and I am currently at Kenyatta University on a football scholarship studying a Bachelor’s Degree in Education. No one in my family has ever attended university I am not only the first one but a girl for that matter. This is a huge achievement for me and being at Binti made me prove the community wrong as they never thought we could study and play football.  
Over the years my leadership skills have been sharpened through the Binti empowerment sessions.  In 2012 I was trained as a peer educator during the YWLI Adolescent Girls Leadership Camp.  This training enabled me to facilitate sessions at YWLI outreach projects as well as during sessions and with other young girls in the community.
My facilitation skills have grown tremendously. I usually use the YWLI adolescent curriculum as a guide during my sessions, my favourite topic in the curriculum is leadership. When facilitating I have noticed how the participants really enjoy the activities especially the games part and I must say that’s my favourite part too.
“I would really like to see more girls at the community empowered and informed with accurate information, this is my driving force to continue with my peer education

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.