Over £2million awarded to 10 specialist projects enabling women and girls to reach their full potential

10th September 2021

Comic Relief, in partnership with The Scottish Government, awarded 10 new Levelling the Field investments totalling £2,083,678 to organisations working in Malawi, Rwanda and Zambia. They will deliver Sport for Change projects that enable women and girls to reach their full potential. All organisations have also been awarded additional funds to enable them to participate in cohort wide learning activities and need-led organisational strengthening. 

All projects funded are working towards at least one of the following objectives:

  • Ensuring women and girls are safe, equal, and respected

  • Promoting women and girls’ decision-making power and inclusion

Aleema Shivji, Executive Director for Impact and investment at Comic Relief, said:

‘Our fantastic Scottish Government partnership is supporting local projects that provide skills and education to help empower women and girls across Malawi, Rwanda and Zambia. We are very excited to be continuing this partnership and there is huge potential for these investments to make change not only for the communities they are targeting but for the delivery organisations and the sector more broadly. We are really looking forward to seeing how they progress over the next 3 years.” 

Charities awarded funding under the second round of Levelling the Field are:


Amref Health Africa Malawi (opens in new window) in partnership with Dance4Life(opens in new window) - Mangochi, 18 months 

This project will educate 6,400 young people about their SRH rights and available services by engaging them in an interactive tried-and-tested dance and movement curriculum. Service-providers will be trained and supported to improve the accessibility and quality of their provision. 

Girls Empowerment Network(opens in new window) in partnership with Center for Youth Development and Transformation - Mulanje & Blantyre, 24 months 

Girls Empowerment Network (GENET) will deliver a two-year programme in rural and peri-urban areas of Southern Malawi to advance the rights and wellbeing of 400, in-school and out-of-school adolescent girls aged 10-19. Through the delivery of cycling & life skills sessions, an empowerment curriculum, boys’ gender transformative curriculum and the establishment of peer led girls’ clubs, the project aims to empower adolescent girls and young women to make decisions about their lives and challenge inequalities within their communities.   

Link Community Development Malawi (opens in new window) in partnership with United Purpose(opens in new window) - Dedza, 24 months 

Link Malawi (LM), with United Purpose and support from Link Education International, will deliver a netball-based curriculum that integrates SRHR, life skills, VSL and entrepreneurship They will include participants who face complex barriers including pregnancy, motherhood, marriage, and disability. Girls will be supported to transition into mainstream education, vocational training or employment and will have increased capacity to make informed life choices. Families and communities will be engaged throughout to create an environment more supportive of girls’ education and rights. 


Chance for Childhood (opens in new window)in partnership with Empowering Children with Disabilities(opens in new window) and MindLeaps(opens in new window)- Nyabihu, 36 months 

This project, based in Nyabihu district in Rwanda, aims to improve inclusion, participation & protection of D/deaf girls, at individual, community and institutional levels using a dance-based sport for change methodology. The project intends to increase D/deaf girl’s confidence and agency and improve their access to support using advocacy and sign language training in the community. 

Shooting Touch(opens in new window) in partnership with Paper Crown Rwanda(opens in new window)– Eastern Province, 36 months 

Through the delivery of basketball-based gender equality sessions, gender equality and empowerment programmes, and increased access to services, the project aims to transform social norms ensuring all women and girls can reach their fullest potential. Boys, families, and communities will be engaged throughout to create an environment supportive of girls’ rights creating sustainable change in gender attitudes and beliefs. 


Marie Stopes Zambia(opens in new window) in partnership with Tackle Africa(opens in new window) - Lusaka, 24 months 

MSZ, with TackleAfrica, aims to improve SRH of adolescents and youth in Lusaka by delivering an integrated football-based, context specific SRH curriculum. The programme uses sport to create a safe space where youth can come together, learn about SRHR, understand their options and access appropriate services in a non-clinical setting. This will lead to an increase in healthy SRHR choices; thereby improving educational and socioeconomic prospects. 

The School Club Zambia (opens in new window) in partnership with Play it Forward Zambia (opens in new window)- Sinazongwe, 36 months 

SCZ, in partnership with Play It Forward Zambia, will deliver a 3-year programme designed to equip adolescent girls who have dropped out of the education system in rural Zambia with the skills, financial resources and confidence to return to school and make informed life choices. Through the programme, adolescent girls and young women will be reintroduced to the school environment and will develop trusted relationships with teachers and nurses, better enabling them to access education and health services. 

National Organisation for Women in Sports, Physical Activity and Recreation(opens in new window)  in partnership with Women Win(opens in new window) and Response Network Zambia(opens in new window) - Lusaka & surrounding rural areas, 36 months 

‘Ready to Earn’ will utilise a sport-based curriculum to deliver a holistic economic empowerment training programme focused on foundational life skills to 150 young women, aiming to close the gap on gender and economic inequality. Participants will then be linked to vocational training opportunities, paid internships/apprenticeships, or seed grants. At the same time, NOWSPAR will advocate for greater equality within the sports sector. 

Circus Zambia (opens in new window)- Lusaka, 36 months 

Over 3 years, Circus Zambia will engage young women (16-19 years) from marginalised urban communities in an intensive circus-based empowerment programme. Through the delivery of an innovative integrated curriculum, circus and dance will be used creatively to increase their awareness of gender equality and SRHR and to build skills with which to advocate for their rights. They will also work with the local communities to promote women’s rights and facilitate wider change. 

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