Interview With Anna Phillips, Founder of Girls Kick It!
A few days ago, I had the chance to talk to Anna Phillips, the incredible 22-year-old founder of Girls Kick It!—a comprehensive sports program for young women in northern Uganda. Anna created Girls Kick It! with the help of Global Youth Partnership for Africa (GYPA) to empower and educate women, many of whom have been affected by war and poverty, through sportsâ?¦
“Me: How did Girls Kick It! get started?
Anna: It got started because I grew up playing sports in middle school and high school. I wrestled and played rugby. I decided to major in human rights at George Washington University after traveling to Africa the summer before I started school. It was a self-designed major that allowed me a lot of flexibility in the classes I was able to take.
Then in January 2006, I got a chance to combine my passion for sports and human rights. I went to the Global Youth Partnership for Africa’s youth summit in Uganda. GYPA brought together American and Ugandan youth leaders who were interested and passionate about HIV/AIDS, women’s issues and reconciliation. After the summit, I worked with GYPA to create a sports programs specifically for women. There were programs where women are involved, but nothing specifically for them. With the help and support of GYPA I was able to find amazing mentors and resources to create Girls Kick It! In particular, the advice of Awista Ayub, a phenomenal woman who created a girls soccer program in Afghanistan, helped me in the early planning stages. The sports for social change movement is relatively small, and everyone was willing to help and meet with meâ?¦”
The sports for social change movement may be small compared to other initiatives that seek to foment change in people’s lives. But the use of sport as a social change agent is happening on just about every continent. I am confident that more young people like Anna will continue to make the connection between their individual, athletic/creative talents and using those gifts in non-traditional ways that benefit other people.
What’s your Red Rubber Ball?!