In the year 2021, the Nkamanyi Football Initiative launched the Girl Empowerment Saloon project opposite St. Francis College, Fiango Kumba. The project aims at empowering young football playing girls under the age of 30 in the town of Kumba, Cameroon by creating a training centre where they can gain hairdressing skills and be self-sustainable. It will also provide accommodation to girls displaced by war in the region.
At the start , the project was aimed at girls who play for the Nkamanyi Football Initiative, but now it is open to girls from within the town, based on need. We evaluate acceptance on a case-by-case basis. Other clubs can also benefit from the project.
Kumba is a city located in the South West region of the Republic of Cameroon. More than 65% of the population is made up of young people. The inhabitants of the city thrive mainly from agriculture and trade. The town has seen a steady increase in its population, especially young people (with girls being the majority) in the last few years. There is little or no jobs for these young people. There are hardly any industries or companies that employ young people.
With the recent publicity of Female football as can be seen from the last world cup and nations cup, female football is gaining more in importance, even at local level with small unorganized clubs. The girls join clubs and easily get disappointed due to lack of activity and perspective. The current crisis in the region does not make it easy for the girls to play. Some girls have also been displaced from their villages and do not have a place to stay. This hinders them also to engage in a sport they love.
With this background, we made a survey of girls of the initiative to find out how best we could engage and empower them. This revealed that most would like to learn the hairdressing trade. We had two options
- either to send the girls for training in already existing hair dressing salons to learn or
- to set up a training centre ourselves.
The trade of hairdressing has a ready market. Salons in town are always full. When the girls complete their training, they shall readily me able to make an income from their services. Moreover, during the training period, customers will pay for services. Income from these services shall be able to help pay subsequent rents, electricity and monthly expenses. For the internally displaced girls, this project only takes care of the accommodation of the girls for one year. By the end of the year after training, they should be in the position to take care of themselves and there will be no need to come to the project sponsors and donors for subsequent support.
RISK AND MITIGATION ANALYSIS
The main risk we see in the project is a further escalation of the ongoing crisis in the region. There is the risk that the centre might be closed for some time. However, considering that we have so far not seen any attack on salons or other private businesses, we do not see any need to worry about this.
You can follow the project here.