It was a cold and windy night, I wanted to sleep but I wasn’t feeling sleepy, so I got hold of my mobile phone and said to check my mails for the night and just to see what is happening online before I sleep off. And just as I opened my mails, I saw an email saying I have been selected to participate in the expert forum workshop in Brazil. Wow!!!!! Alone on my bed I screamed!!! I was so excited!! I didn’t expect I would be selected. I couldn’t wait for the morning to share the news with my family. Before now I had come across an information online, on AWID news to be precise, it was a call for application for women rights activists who use sports as strategy or tools for women empowerment to participate in an expert forum in Brazil. When I read it I was reluctant to apply because I started to feel self-inferior, I said to myself that though my organization uses sports and games as a strategy but we may be too small to qualify. So, somehow I encouraged myself and I just applied and sent all the requirements that they asked for, and I forgot about it. And that night, I saw the mail saying I have been selected to come to Brazil and all expenses paid by Discover Football, the NGO inviting us for the workshop. I was sceptical; could this be real or another internet scam? Until they sent me the invitation letter and my flight ticket then I knew they were for real and I got serious too. They are a German NGO with a mission to inspire and encourage women and girls who love to play football achieve their goals and dreams of becoming women footballers. To cut the long story short, I arrived in Brazil and it was a wonderful and exciting experience joining the rest of the world to witness the 2014 FIFA world cup. All participants at the expert workshop forum comprise of women rights activists and women journalists from Mexico, Iran, Nigeria, Cameroon, Argentina, Uruguay, Iran, Australia, Brazil, USA and Germany, our host. During our workshops, we discussed various topics, ranging from societal, cultural and behavioural attitudes to women who play football or have the dream and passion to play football and every one of us spoke from their experiences back at home, it is all the same, women and girls are not encouraged to play football, it is even worse in Africa where the boy child struggles to choose football as a career not to talk of the girl child where she is expected to do only kitchen work and raising of kids. And so in regards to this, we took to the streets in Rio de Janeiro, campaigning and advocating that women also can play football as well as men and the society and families should not frown at it. When women and girls play football, they are empowered and also productive and adding value to themselves and the society at large. We then gathered at the street square to play football to see if other women will be encouraged to join us and we were glad they did. In a country like Brazil, or even Argentina, one would expect that female football would be very popular but we discovered it is the same struggle for the football space as in other countries too. And again, as part of our campaign for women to be allowed to play football, we sealed our lips and played football on the streets, signifying that even though women play football, it is still silent, people don’t talk much about it and they are not as excited to watch women play as much as they do men, and this is all because of the stereotypes, women should not play football but to sit at home and do the kitchen work. We also played football at the Maracana beach and a lot of women joined us, men watched us, everyone was happy, and we used that opportunity to share to the people around that women can be empowered though the game of football. There are many women out there who are not employed and lack resources to start any business but then have the capacity and passion to engage in sports, they can be encouraged and it will go a long way in creating development if women are also allowed to play football as freely as the men. For me I am so happy because if not for my being online, I wouldn’t have been in Brazil, i have added new networks to my work and this feels great. it is a way forward for me and for my Organization. So now I know for sure, that indeed there are great opportunities for women and girls empowerment in the internet.

Take action! This post was submitted in response to WWW: Women Weave the Web .

Comment on this Post


I enjoyed reading your post. Sports is indeed fundamental in our development as women as it debunks the myth that we can't be physically fit and still be seen as nurturers. Well done and keep up the great work!

What a wonderful essay, Nabiye and very inspiring! It's reallyy fantastic that through sports you were able to feel empowered and to connect with other women who are equally passionate about soccer and who want to share with the the world that women can also play soccer and feel that they have the right to do so. I'm glad that you did a campaign that is aimed at raising awareness about inequality between men and women reagrding soccer. Women should also feel that they can be praised and respected for playing a sport that is believed to be only played by men. I also think it's amazing that thanks to the internet you were able to participate in this program and go to Brazil and felt inspired to continue to work on your organization. Keep up the great work! Lea

Dear Lea,

Thank you so much my dear sister for your encouragement. Indeed i am so glad i was able to participate and i am also glad that this experience have greatly inspired me and encouraged me and my organization to continue to engage online. I am so happy. Also glad connecting with you. Big hugs.

Nabiye-tal Seaman Ogbaji, Founder/CEO- IEVAWC.@nabiye, @ievawc


This is a wonderful story. Internet as a venue of communication has made this opportunity possible. Sometimes, we miss a lot by being shy. Always try, there is nothing to lose. Congratulations!

Kadidia Doumbia

Dear Kadida,

Thank you so much my dear sister for your words of encouragement. It is true, there are so many opportunities and we should keep trying and not just for the opportunities but also to educate ourselves and stay updated with global happenings. Many Thanks.

Nabiye-tal Seaman Ogbaji, Founder/CEO- IEVAWC.@nabiye, @ievawc

Dear Nabiye:

Thanks for sharing your experience with us. I'm happy that you got an opportunity to share your experience and knowledge with a global audience. Even more inspiring that you all got an opportunity to practicalize your ideas. The pictures showing your activities in Brazil say a lot as well. Great job and well done with your initiative.

Dear Jumi,

Thank you so much Jumi for your compliment and words of encouragement. I appreciate it and i am so happy for the opportunity to connect with you also. Cheers.

Nabiye-tal Seaman Ogbaji, Founder/CEO- IEVAWC.@nabiye, @ievawc

Dear Nabiya, As an Argentine woman I felt deeply related to your post! I've always thought women don't play "fútbol" in my country because almost every single neighbourhood club goes just for all-boys' teams. I've followed the American experience, with integrated teams and a whole different approach on the matter. Difference is made during childhood, I reckon. It's been wonderful to find your post! The pics are so inspiring! Thank you so much for giving a voice to your experience and sharing it here.

Warm regards from Buenos Aires!


Be a voice, tell a story, start the fire. | Sé una voz, cuenta una historia, enciende el fuego.

Dear SanPatagonia,

Thank you so much for your words of encouragement, i feel so inspired to do more for women's futbol, and i agree with you, it should start from childhood. Big hugs.

Nabiye-tal Seaman Ogbaji, Founder/CEO- IEVAWC.@nabiye, @ievawc