The GGWCup Mumbai 2019 winner is transforming Goa one football field at a time
- it’s an honor to introduce Forca Goa
Team Forca Goa, from the Forca Goa Foundation, were the proud winners of our Mumbai GGWCUP. The champions Forca Goa will represent India at the Finals in New York during the UNGA week September 2019.
I spoke to Ishita Godinho, the Community Development Manager at Forca Goa, about Forca Goa’s mission, challenges and ethos.
by Mathilde Nielsen
Football is the heart
The first thing Ishita tells me about Forca Goa is that “the heart of our organization is football.” Forca Goa is a not for profit organization that offers grassroots football training in the state of Goa. “We work around three pillars: football, empowerment and sustainability,” says Ishita. Forca Goa demonstrates their commitment to these goals by holding workshops with the children in the football training programs “on socially relevant topics like gender equality, waste management, good nutrition, the importance of heating healthily.” Forca Goa makes sure to practice what they preach, in order to, like Ishita puts it, “validate” the teachings of their workshops. Practical examples include organizing clean-up drives to accompany their workshops on waste management or giving out healthy snacks following a workshop on nutrition.
Forca Goa, like us here at the GGWCup, believe in the transformative power of football. I asked Ishita why it is that football is such an incredible tool for empowerment and education. “It’s a great unifier,” she tells me, “and once you have children's attention, you can teach them all these other things like we do through our workshops.” But even on its own, Ishita believes, football “teaches you so much: teamwork, confidence, how to pick yourself up after a loss. A lot of children who play football are just happier and healthier; it’s a fact. Some of the schools we work with even tell us that the children who attend our football training have better attendance in school.”
To qualify to play in a Global Goals World Cup the teams have to pick one of the 17 Goals to play and take action for. But the Forca Goa team was a really special at our Mumbai tournament because they chose to play for not only one, but three Sustainable Development Goals: SDG 3 Good Health and Well-Being, SDG 5 Gender Equality and SDG 12 Responsible Production and Consumption.
Forca Goa takes these goals seriously both on and off the field. “All our footballs are fairtrade,” because, as Ishita tells me, “not many people know that footballs are hand-stitched and more often than not they are made with child labor.”
Twenty Four all-women teams competed in the event which took place for the first time in India. The champions Forca Goa will represent India at the Finals in New York during the UNGA week September 2019. Before the action began on the pitch, each team presented their contribution towards attaining specific sustainable goals. OSCAR Foundation from Mumbai and Forca Goa from Goa were the two finalists that played a brilliant match, but Foca Goa took the trophy home.
Not just coaches. Role models
One way in which the Forca Goa Foundation is tackling gender equality through football is their crusade to get more women into full-time football coaching. Coaches are essential to the empowerment of the players, because they “are not just coaches, they are role models.” The coach's job is both “a great honor and responsibility,” in Ishita’s words, because they “help shape kids, not into not just good football players, but into good citizens.”
When Forca Goa initially put out word they were looking for female coaches, they got few responses, although they did hire the amazing Josline D'Souza. Rather than be discouraged, Forca Goa decided to face the challenge head-on by organizing a coaching program exclusively for women “to get them acquainted with the game and teaching them about coaching” which is “hopefully a step towards getting women to take up coaching as a professional full-time job.”
The Forca Goa team made an incredible 10 hour train journey in order to take part in the GGWCup Mumbai 2019. When I ask Ishita how it felt to eventually win the tournament, she tells me, “of course we wanted to win, but our intention was to go and look at what other organizations were doing and let other organizations know about our work. So winning was not at the top of our minds,” but, she laughingly adds, “once we reached the semis we did get super competitive.” For Ishita and the Forca Goa team, the best part of the event was not their win, but that “everybody was so involved and interested in knowing about each other” and the excitement of “meeting like-minded people.”
We’re thrilled Forca Goa enjoyed their experience in the GGWCup and proud to spread the word about their organization and work!
Ishita got her Masters degree in Development Studies. She is a huge football fan and also has her own local NGO working with women and children.
When in Goa, find your football field here
“One of the first initiatives the Forca Goa Foundation ever undertook was going about mapping every single field across the state of Goa. By understanding the facilities we have available to us as a community, we can create more opportunities for positive development in the game.” More about the Foundation.
GGWCup Partners in Mumbai
We would like to thank you: UNDP, Global Goals Advocates, SAP Next-Gen, Choithrams, Rouble Nagi, Anjali Shah (PIFA), Saleha Khan, Save The Children India, Worldview Education, Project Everyone, the Danish Embassy in India, Happiness At Work Award, Mumbai Girls Football, Little Sun, Global Citizen, Indo-German Chamber of Commerce, and Ideosphere.