GW Women's Soccer Donates Kits to Girls Kick It! Project
Jan. 3, 2013
WASHINGTON – As the George Washington women’s soccer team competed in its first season under first-year head coach Sarah Barnes this past fall, the Colonials were also involved in a separate off-the-pitch endeavor – collecting and donating soccer gear to the Girls Kick It! project in Northern Uganda.
In line with the Department of Athletics and Recreation's and the university’s initiative of community service, the GW squad teamed up with Girls Kick It! (GKI) – a community-based women’s soccer program that uses sport to empower young women and girls in Northern Uganda – and collected soccer-related items such as cleats, shorts, socks and sports bras over the course of the fall semester. The items were then shipped to GKI and distributed to its participants.
GKI was developed in 2006 by GW alumna Anna Phillips (’07) after she took a short trip to Uganda during her sophomore year where she served as a volunteer for Global Youth Partnership in Africa. The organization has implemented the philosophy that sport can be a vehicle to build confidence and improve overall health for girls and women living in Northern Uganda. A region plagued by war for over 20 years, GKI formed as an outreach for refugees to develop life skills while also providing healthy and economically sustainable opportunities for young girls and women living in internally displaced persons camps.
In early fall of 2012 Phillips reached out to Colonials’ assistant coach Emma Wright to see if GW would be interested in donating soccer equipment or attire to the GKI organization. The Colonials’ team then took it upon itself to collect clothing and equipment throughout the season.
“Donating items we knew these women could use was an incredible way for our team to give back and see the impact that was made,” said Coach Wright, who oversaw the collection drive. “These women do not have the access to a lot of things that we take for granted and it makes us understand and appreciate what we have that much more. Our players truly valued this experience and it gave them a lot of joy to help in any way they could.”
“The goal of our program is to help support and identify a generation of empowered girls and young women to rebuild their community and nation after over two decades of civil war,” Phillips said. “We offer these women a place to have an active voice and role in decision-making and development. We have learned that the girls and women who participate with GKI take on a long-term leadership role in their community and we hope they continue to become advocates for changing the development paradigm in Northern Uganda.”
To learn more about Girls Kick It! Please click here.