From where I stand: “Girls need to believe in themselves”

Wilma Riziki Kazunguis learned to play football as a teenager. Today she is an entrepreneur and a football coach from Kilifi, Kenya.


Wilma Riziki Kazunguis.  Photo: UN Women/Khadidiatou Ndiaye

I am a referee and a coach with Moving the Goal Post. I was 17 when I joined as a young football player. I had three younger siblings and had lost our parents. my grandfather couldn’t afford to pay our school fees.

I learned to play football and managed to finish my high school since joining Moving the Goal Post.  I also received training in hairdressing and two years ago I launched my hairdressing business. I started with a mirror and a blow-dryer. Now I have a full salon and a cosmetics shop! I hope that one day, I will have many branches of my salon.

 At the salon, I roughly earn 3000-4000 KSHs (USD 30-40) a day, the programme has also helped me tap into other financial opportunities, such as zero-interest loans from the savings group. I mentor other girls to pass on the life skills and the business skills that I learned.

 My life has changed tremendously. I provide for my grandfather and my three siblings. My younger brother is getting a degree in mass communication. These days, I don’t get intimidated when I step into a supermarket because I know that through my hard work, I can afford most of the things I see on the shelves.

Girls need to believe in themselves. Then they will have the drive to achieve their dreams. This is the principle that has guided my life.”

Wilma Riziki Kazunguis, 23, is a member of Moving the Goalposts, a community-based organization in Kilifi, a coastal town of Kenya. As part of a UN Women programme funded by the Government of Japan on enhancing women’s active participation in prevention of violent extremism in Kenya, the organization ran a project that provided livelihood skills training and helped build financial independence of young women engaged in its sport programme to build their resilience in Kilifi, Mombasa, Kwale and Tana River County where youth, including young women, are vulnerable to the spread of violent extremism. Using football as a tool for empowering girls and young women, Moving the Goalposts is helping girls and women stand on their own feet and make their mark, both on and off the field.