The Norwegian Minister of International Development, Mr. Nikolai Astrup, visited Tanzania 28-30 November. During his visit he spent some time with the Bonga football girls from the local NGO OCODE (Organization for Community Development) and representatives from the regional office of Strømme Foundation.
The Bonga program is one of the Youth Empowerment Programs conducted by OCODE. The program is a nine months course for out of school adolescent girls aged 13 to 19. At present, OCODE has 11 Bonga Centers which are all located in Msongola ward in Ilala Municipality, Dar es Salaam, with 284 girls. The project is done in partnership with Strømme Foundation with funding from Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation, Norad. The Stromme Foundation provides funds and professional and moral support. OCODE is an active member of Tanzania Education Network, a network that is working to improve the education sector in Tanzania.
During the Minister’s visit some of the girls were given the opportunity to share their stories about their background and the various life skills they have gained by joining the Bongo program. They were thankful for learning more about personal health and human rights, get training in vocational skills of their choice and the chance to join a football team. They expressed that by being part of the football team they have become stronger physically and more confident. It has given them new exposure as they travel to meet other teams in various competitions.
Minister Astrup was very pleased to hear about the great impact the Bonga Program has in the community and promised continued support for the team. He gave them footballs showing the United Nations 17 Sustainable Development Goals, the SDGs. UNs Sustainable Development Goals aim at creating a better and more sustainable future for all. “We would like to see all children having the opportunity to get education and learn about their basic human rights. It’s great to witness remarkable development through sports”, said the Minister.