Everton players including Tom Davies, Ademola Lookman and Gabby George brought joy to dozens of Nairobi schoolchildren when they took part in a pioneering programme working with vulnerable girls living in challenging parts of Kenya.
Ahead of Everton’s SportPesa Cup clash with Kariobangi Sharks on Sunday, the trio joined Club Ambassador Graeme Sharp, Everton Ladies manager Willie Kirk and Blues players Beni Baningime, Simone Magill and Dan Turner in a special visit to a scheme called ‘Let Our Girls Succeed’.
Funded by the UK government’s Department for International Development and run by the Education Development Trust, the initiative works with vulnerable girls living in challenging parts of Kenya.
‘Let Our Girls Succeed’ provides primary school girls with the qualifications, skills and confidence necessary to successfully transition to secondary level and also seek alternative career pathways. It was established in 2017 and works with 71,550 youngsters across the East African country.
Everton Ladies players Magill, George and Turner participated in netball and dancing during the visit, before the activities moved onto football when Davies, Lookman and Baningime arrived at the Barclays Sports Ground.
Everton in Community coaches - who have been working in districts across Nairobi all week - provided the training, assisted by Sharp and Kirk who offered their own expert input.
“For us all, it has been an eye-opening and humbling experience,” said Davies, who also took part in a community visit to Albino United during the Club’s trip to Tanzania two years ago.
“The girls and boys here just love playing football and that is great to see.
“Some may have got very little or have challenges in their lives but they are so happy. Everyone has got smiles on their faces and that is beautiful to see. For us to come and make a little bit of a difference, it’s very rewarding.
“The people from DFID who run the programme here are doing a fantastic job and they deserve so much credit.”
Although the project is called ‘Let Our Girls Succeed’, it also includes boys’ clubs to ensure that both sexes are educated in gender sensitivity and inclusivity, peer mentoring and sexual and reproductive health training.
At the end of the visit, the 70 children were presented with a variety of gifts and keepsakes, including signed photos, footballs and goodie bags.
“Today’s activities are a great example of how sport can empower girls and encourage inclusivity,” added Everton Ladies boss Kirk. “It’s fantastic that some our Everton Ladies players are out here contributing to that and making some young Kenyan girls’ day very special.
“We knew that the players who we asked to join us on the visit would get involved. If they can pass on their experiences and inspire young children, it’s fantastic.”
‘Let Our Girls Succeed’ is part of the UK-funded worldwide Girls’ Education Challenge (GEC) which helps some of the world’s poorest girls improve their lives through education. It covers 566 schools – 493 primary and 45 secondary– spread across eight counties and informal settlements in Nairobi
Global feminine hygiene brand Lil-Lets also donated sanitary products to each school involved in the visit. The donation marks Lil-Lets’ continuing relationship with Everton Football Club, which has previously seen the brand provide free sanitary products in all accessible and ladies toilets at Goodison Park on matchdays and at its community facilities.
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