Reaching Our Goals

Empowering girls through sport by using netball to improve self-confidence and life chances

Malawi (Dedza district), 2021-2023, Comic Relief and Scottish Government

Reaching Our Goals is a sister-project to our TEAM Girl Malawi project. It provides additional social and emotional support to 15-19 year olds who are most at risk of dropping out of our community education classes due to marriage or pregnancy.

Key facts

Our TEAM Girl Malawi project is working with some of the most marginalised girls and boys who have either never received an education, or who dropped out of school without learning basic reading, writing and counting. Vulnerable girls are at increased risk of sexual exploitation and early marriage is common, whilst menstruation provides additional barriers to girls, and disabled children face bullying and a lack of community support to pursue their education.

Link wants to give these children the confidence and ability to make informed decisions about their future and lead the life they choose for themselves.

We are proud to partner with United Purpose to provide a complementary netball-based programme in areas where drop-out risk is greatest. This will encourage girls to stay in class, whilst providing additional social and emotional support. The curriculum strengthens self-worth, teaches sexual and reproductive health, addresses issues such as gender-based violence and safely challenges gender stereotypes. We’ll also work with girls when they graduate from the programme to support them to transition into further training or the world of work.

How we are making a difference

increase in attendance at community learning centres
more girls have improved self-esteem
more girls have improved confidence to challenge gender norms
increase in parents who support gender equality

The first cohort of learners have now completed the project. Results show that they have gained confidence to demand that their rights are met, and that their parents and community leaders are supporting them. 160 graduating learners have transitioned into various pathways. Some have been trained and supported to start small-scale business in local industries such as soymilk production, some have gone back to mainstream primary school, and some have been linked to additional vocational training such as tailoring.

The project has taught me personally that everything is possible [to achieve] with confidence and hard work
Pamela, programme graduate

Pamela is 17 years old. She was forced to drop out of school due to poverty before she learned to read and write, and a visual impairment knocked her confidence. After her mother was invited to attend their local centre, Pamela was supported to enrol and catch up on missed learning. She graduated in November 2021, and has gone on to a 6-month tailoring training programme run by Link’s partner, Supreme. Pamela has gained so much in confidence that she was selected by her peers to represent them and address senior government officials at a Link netball tournament!