UNFPA hands over self-care sport facilities to female football team 

The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) has on Tuesday handed over the self-care female sports facilities to the national female football team -Bright starlets.

The four containers donated by Netherland embassy and furnished by the UNFPA are meant to drive the power of sports to end gender-based violence and harmful practices and improve menstrual health management in sport.

The girls team said they have persevered shame of having no wash rooms especially during the menstruation for the last four years since the team formed in 2019.

Esther Louis, assistant captain of the Bright starlets said every time they come for sport, they would change their cloths in front of everyone including men.

“We are now going to use these containers because being girls was the challenge we could face, standing outside here and changing your cloth in front of everyone. Now that we have our wash rooms and changing rooms, anytime you come here, you will be feeling comfortable,” Esther said.

Susana Awal, member of bright starlets for change organization said many girls could not participate in the sport activities and others quit due to lack of wash rooms to manage their menstruations during menstrual period.

“Menstruation hygiene is something that is still a taboo and it’s hard for a girl child to be able to access the games or training if they are in a period time,” Awal stated, “It will be of great advantage and privilege to use the wash rooms and access rooms for change as we all know that girl child through the sport being not one of the main things for women in South Sudan, the culture is trying to adapt it,”

The president of the South Sudan Football Association, Augustino Maduot Parek, pledged that the leadership will continue to work to change the ideology surrounding menstrual health management and girls participation in the sport.

“We will concentrate to see that women football develop. We know there are a lot of challenges they face but you cannot stop developing them because of these challenges.” said Maduot.

“The reason we want to give equal opportunity for our daughters to play sport is so that they can drive the mental, physical and social benefit of sport participation…apart from those benefits, they are less likely to be involved in an unintended  pregnancy than girls who do not play sport,” said the Netherland Ambassador, Marjan Schippers who donated the containers.

“Girls and women that play sport, have higher level of confident and self-esteem and lower level of depression and they have a better positive body image,” she added.

Meanwhile the country representative of the United Nations Population Fund, (UNFPA) Ademola Olajide said it’s important for girls to participate in sport freely in order to contribute to the national building and change of society.

“When society hold down the girls, society itself cannot make progress. One thing remain clear, sport is a powerful unifying platform which can be leverage for change,” Ademola stated.

The four containers (furnished offices) are place at Buluk playing ground in Juba to used and access by all the female players.