Isha Johansen, Africa’s only female FA President gains CAF support for campaign against early marria

Isha Johansen, Africa’s only FA President gains CAF support for campaign against early marriage, with Powerplay Africa football festival and expo

The Confederation of African Football has for the first time endorsed a gender focused initiative with PowerPlay Africa - a campaign to empower women and girls in Africa through football and prevent early marriage – co-founded by Sierra Leone Football Association’s Isha Johansen.

Empowered and informed girls are less likely to be compelled or coerced into early marriage and this year, the Confederation of African Football in partnership with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in Cameroon, African Union (AU), PowerPlay Africa and the Cameroon Football Federation (FECAFOOT) have jointly launched the “Together against the marriage of young girls” campaign towards abandoning child marriages on the continent.

PowerPlay Africa was founded in 2015 by Isha Johansen, the FA’s only female president in Africa and Memuna Forna, emerging market communications specialist. They are adding a uniquely Sierra Leonean component to the PowerPlay Africa campaign with PowerPlay Africa Free Yourself - Sierra Leone’s first Girls Empowerment Football Festival and Expo on 17 December 2016 at the SLFA headquarters in Kingtom, Freetown.

PowerPlay Africa will be the first girls’ empowerment football festival and exhibition in Sierra Leone. It will allow secondary school girls to participate in a range of football related activities – many will actively experience football for the first time.

As part of the Girls’ Empowerment Football Festival and Expo a wide range of organisations, with messages of empowerment, will host stands/exhibits providing information on routes to empowerment, such as education, employment, entrepreneurship, financial independence and literacy, financial planning, physical fitness, health etc. Amongst the many organisations taking part are USAID, UNICEF, DFID and Sierra Leone’s Women Engineers.

Explaining the concept behind the event, Isha Johanson said: “Participation in football, as a player or administrator, is just one of the many decisions that a young woman can take to shape her future and define her life. With the PowerPlay Africa Free Yourself Football Festival and exhibition, we wanted to create an exciting platform for girls so that they can educate and inform themselves about all the skills, services and facilities that are available in Sierra Leone to develop their potential and support their aspirations.”

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