The WE United Project is a women-led initiative to empower women and girls through dynamic sport-based activities in Nepal. For the last five years, this project has built a network of strong and empowered women around our mission of encouraging competition for excellence. It calls for breaking down of social stereotypes and barriers, and facing the many challenges that they encounter.
Many women and girls are overloaded with responsibilities to their families and communities and often “empowerment” interventions can just add to these burdens. Sports, on the other hand, are a proven fun, voluntary and social way to experience empowerment. Participation in sports has many benefits—from encouraging healthier lifestyles and communication, to promoting self-confidence and leadership, and the social cohesion and solidarity that come from being part of a network. Beginning with hosting weekly Saturday Sessions (one-hour scrimmage games for women), The WE United Project realized the importance of creating safe spaces to impart life skills through sports.
The times and locations of all of our activities, as well as the fact that WE has female referees, are all details designed to ensure that women and girls feel safe to be themselves. Without these details, empowerment initiatives have often failed to achieve their desired outcome and can actually have adverse impacts. In 2014, WE hosted our first women’s futsal tournament in Nepal, which was the largest ever at the time.
The tournament has become a tradition and on Saturday 1st December 2018, WE expects 120 women to participate in the Fifth Annual Tournament. Many of these girls have participated in the tournament every year. The Fifth Annual Tournament will provide a moment to reflect on all that WE has achieved,
With excitement growing towards the future, each year WE improvises on their activities and efforts to expand the space for women’s empowerment through sport in Nepal. With a need to expand the impact of the one-day tournaments in 2017 the organization provided a more continuous space for empowerment and networking, WE launched the Mahila Premier League (MPL), with support from the European Union in Nepal.
MPL is the first ever women’s futsal league in Nepal, with eight teams competing over a period of eight weeks. The project was a huge success and the second season concluded in November 2018. After noticing a continued lack of female coaches, The WE United Project responded by developing the Mahila Coaching initiative, through which eight women will be trained as coaches and given a small stipend to train a girls’ team for participation in an inter-school tournament in January 2019.
WE believes that having positive female coaches as leaders and role models allows young girls to say “If I can see her, I can be her!” WE also look forward to training more female coaches in the future. In an effort to change how women are portrayed in public spaces and media, WE will be running #RepictureWomen photo exhibitions in local schools in 2019. Hence, by organizing this fifth annual tournament, WE brings inspiring women and girls together in our quest for women's empowerment in Nepal.