our projects

Gender Equality

Empowered girls speak out

Empowered Girls Speak Out project aims to empower adolescent girls aged 13-19 to understand their rights, achieve equal rights to education and promote freedom from gender-based violence. The central issue addressed is girls’ poor academic performance and school drop-outs. The project works directly with 400 girls in nine secondary schools in Mtwara Region, through sportive ‘Girls Action Clubs’ (GACs), which provide a safe space for girls to share experiences and learn essential health and life skills, assisted by a sport teacher. The project trains teachers and traditional “Unyago” initiation ritual leaders on Health, Human Rights and Sports with a special focus on girls and gender. Increased awareness of girls’ rights contributes to girl-friendly schools and communities.

While girls are the center of social change, local communities are also engaged to facilitate girl empowerment. Traditional and religious leaders, ward-level officials, teachers, female initiators (Kungwis) of Unyago ritual and other local leaders form “Community Facilitation Groups” in each nine community, to achieve a wider community outreach and to initiate collective community actions to promote girls’ rights.



Unyago is a traditional initiation ritual, through which young girls, 5 to 12 years old go through a ritual transition from childhood to adulthood, particularly for marriage. This culturally important tradition is widely practised in Tanzanian culture, especially in the coastal and southern regions, where Sports Development Aid operates.

Nowadays Unyago is a controversial tradition. It has been accused to promote early marriages and intimate relationships among children and youth and contributing to school drop outs. Some governmental officials have taken Unyago under scrutiny, and want to banish the tradition, but banishing Unyago, would be a big cultural loss for the local communities, and it might go “underground”, thus making it even more difficult to monitor.

So, what can we do? If we can’t stop traditions, maybe we can change them – improve them. Sports Development Aid works together with progressive Unyago leaders “Kungwis”, respected elderly women in communities, to refine the traditional content of Unyago to meet the girls’ mental and physical maturity, and acquirements of adolescence life; education, for instance. SDA have helped the Kungwis to establish an organisation for Kungwis, through which Unyago can be monitored and guaranteed to be suitable for young girls. Moreover, SDA offers various trainings for members of the Kungwi organisation, refreshing their knowledge of health and other essential topics taught in Unyago. The members of the organisation are committed to follow the new Unyago curriculum, promoting Girls’ Education and Equal Rights, together with Healthy and Active Lifestyle.

community outreach & gender equality

forum theatre

Sports Development Aid utilizes sports and drama to teach individuals and communities, and address issues hindering development and Human Rights.

Forum theatre is a form of drama where spectators become “spect-actors”, trying to change the discriminating plot of the play for the benefit of an oppressed protagonist. This participatory and entertaining method of education has proven to be extremely popular and effective in our working environment. It is a safe way to lift local harmful practices and grievances under public scrutiny and start finding solutions for them.

Since 2018, Forum Theatre has been practised in Sports Development Aid’s partner secondary schools. Students get together to discuss about local problems and prepare a forum theatre play: a short act dramatizing real situations faced by young girls. The drama depicts the protagonist’s – a young school girl’s struggle to obtain education and her rights. The play should awake sympathy in the audience, consequently, leading to discussion “forum” and solutions, what the protagonist and the community could do to solve the issues. Forum Theatre enables the community to start a dialogue with the characters of the play to better understand their reality. Moreover, they can even step in the protagonist’s shoes and try to solve her problems by offering alternative behaviour approaches to her challenging situations. Overall, the goal is to bring people together to find out solutions for the protagonist’s problems which the members of the society in a similar situation can apply in their own every-day life.


fc-vito football program

This programme was launched in 2000 by Sports Development Aid, its counterpart organisation LiiKe – Sports and Development and The Embassy of Finland in Dar es Salaam. The aim of the program is to strengthen international co-operation and the developmental partnership between Tanzania and Finland. FC-Vito program brings Tanzanian youth football team every year to show their talent in one of the biggest international youth football tournaments in Europe – Helsinki Cup in Finland. Through the unique experience and foster parent program it improves the life standard of the boys and girls in the teams and supports education and sports.


  • Education through Sports (ETS) in Mtwara 2001 – 2007. Covering 608 primary schools and about 320,000 students. About 1,200 teachers trained in sports. Counterpart Finnish Sports Federation and 42 sports associations


  • Education through Sports in Singida 2007 – 2011. Covering 508 primary schools and about 225,000 students. About 900 teachers trained in sports.
  • Teachers training Physical Education in Butimba Teachers College 2006 – 2008. PE department strengthened. Annual output about 40-60 PE teachers. Counterpart Finnish Sports Federation and Ministry of Sports and Vocational Training (MoEVT).


  • Teachers training in Physical Education in 12 teachers colleges around Tanzania 2009 – 2011. Annual output  is approximately 300 PE teachers. Together with Finnish Sports Federation and MoEVT.


  • Health Education Training in Colleges 2012-2014. PE tutor in Colleges to become HE tutors too. Counterparts Finnish Sports Federation, MoEVT and Finnish Association of Sports Teachers and Health Educators.


  • Education through Sports in Singida for 130 Secondary schools 2012 – 2014. Together with the Teachers Trade Union in Tanzania (CWT). About 20 trainers of trainees and 300 teachers trained in sports.


  • Preparing schools for receiving allocated sports teachers (300 teachers annually) 2012. Done in collaboration with TAMISEMI (Ministry of Local Government)


  • Education through Sports in Lindi 2011 – 2015. Covering 462 primary schools and about 200,000 students. About 850 teachers  trained.
  • Moms & Daughters health, sports and education project in Mtwara and Singida 2010-2014. Started as small scale sports project and developed to health education, sports oriented and income generating action plan to girls and women from 15-70 years.