International Women’s Day – How Tibu Africa Is Empowering Young Girls In Africa To Follow Their Dreams
8th March is celebrated as International Women’s Day worldwide. It is a day to celebrate women and strive to improve the present opportunities. We can only progress as a community if all members of it are empowered.
We had a conversation with Ghizlane Khammal, Growth & Strategy Director, Hiba Lemsaad Co-Founder, Khadija, Head of English department, Ikhlass, Mentor, Tibu Africa. It is a nonprofit organization that empowers young girls and women to follow their passions and create a better world.
Why does Tibu Africa believe it’s important to celebrate International Women’s Day?
Hiba – Tibu Africa is an NGO that uses the power of sports to bring about the needed development in education. We believe this approach can help us promote empowerment of the underrepresented and progression of socio-economic inclusion.
We have two axes. The first one is education for kids. Through sports, one can develop motor, cognitive, and socio-emotional skills. So we help children and young people aged between four and eight through an education empowerment program.
And the second axis is the workforce. We try to support young people aged 18 and 35 to a real professional integration in the sports industry.
Today we have more than 100 core members and collaborators. Our ambition is to become the locomotive of sports for development in Africa by 2030.
Ghizlane – And we implement our programs in about 20 cities. We have a National Lab expansion of our programs in many areas. It gives younger people a chance to practice and have great opportunities to do sports within urban and rural areas.
Is there a story behind Tibu Africa’s name and its association with sports?
Ghizlane – One of the main reasons is that the President and the founder of Tibu Africa was a basketball player. And he was inspired by the confidence that this sport could give young people, mainly in values and empowering leadership.
He saw that sports could give a lot of potential to children, women, and young people. So that’s why he believes in sports as a tool to create significant opportunities for people. So we started Tibu, which stands for Tournaments International Basketball University.
Initially, we used to work only in Morocco. But since 2021, we have launched our programs in many different countries in all of Africa. And that’s why we changed our name, and now we are Tibu Africa instead of Tibu Morocco.
How has your experience been with the programs, and how can women enroll with them?
Ghizlane – Now we have different targets, different populations. We work with mothers, young people, girls from disadvantaged areas. And we have many other programs.
We try to create new programs that can have great value each year. We want to give solutions for social problems. And so, we continually work to develop new programs and create new initiatives.
Since 2015, our programs have been mainly based on education. Because, in Morocco, young children in elementary schools don’t have many physical activities. And that’s why Tibu Africa implements our programs in these schools.
Since 2019, we have started to discover all the potential of sports that help in employment inclusion, immigration, women empowerment. We launched one of the most successful programs to include people’s education, employment, or training needs.
Now, we are not considering sports as technical performance. It’s a great tool to enhance and foster equitability and reduce inequality for all disadvantaged populations.
How can we encourage women in Tibu Africa to pursue their dreams?
Ghizlane – We have a local approach that aims to intervene directly for beneficiaries, and we work closely with young people, mothers, and children. It’s essential to empower women to work with families to unleash the potential of girls.
We should also raise awareness in our families. So we had this approach to work with very young girls to create a change early, instead of waiting for them to be 20 or 24. We also work closely with the local population to work with different ages.
But Tibu Africa also has a very different and rich ecosystem. We work with the local authorities. We support ministries, mainly the Ministry of Education and Sports.
We also work with the private sector, and the different approaches made us achieve our goals effectively. So we have beneficiaries, stakeholders, and volunteers at local, national, and global levels.
Is there one message that you’d like to send out to young girls today
Ghizlane – My message will be to believe in your dreams. Sometimes, the gender roles in society make girls make different choices from what they want to do in their lives or careers. I would say believe in your dreams and work on them.
Ikhlas – The message from me would be, don’t focus on what’s given to you. Only create opportunities for yourself in believing them. And do not stop until you make them happen.