Lesotho is a patriarchal society that normalizes gender inequality. In 2014 33% of women & 40% of men expressed a belief that a husband is justified in beating his wife in some circumstances (LDHS). 86% of women have experienced Gender Based Violence (GBV) at least once, including partner & non-partner violence. Gender Links research also indicates that GBV remains a primary driver of HIV infection in Lesotho, which has the world’s second highest prevalence 23.8% (AVERT, 2018). Many women are unaware of their rights & how to uphold them, and lack knowledge and confidence to access healthcare & other key services. There is a lack of gender equality in all areas of society: family life, education, at work and on the football pitch. Over the last ten years at Kick4Life we have worked intensively with vulnerable young women & girls, delivering a range of interventions that challenge gender discrimination & empower young women with knowledge and confidence to lead healthy & successful lives. Based on our tried and tested Sport for Good methodology, which includes a range of interactive games, discussions and adapted rules football matches, the Girls United programme has been designed and delivered over the last two years by five young women from the Kick4Life Women’s football team – who are currently national champions of Lesotho. These incredibly inspirational young leaders all progressed through Kick4Life’s programmes and are now using their experience and skills to support more vulnerable young women. This includes our Programme Manager Puky Ramokoatsi who started as a participant in 2010 and now leads our gender-based porgrammes. We are seeking support from Sport en Commun to continue Girls United during 2022 and 2023, and to make improvements to the programme including the addition of progressions support towards sustainable livelihoods. The programme will support 600 participants through a 12 session curriculum that includes sessions covering the following topics and components: Sexual & reproductive health education, including HIV prevention Gender rights education including new discussions and support around gender identity. Preventing and safely responding to gender-based violence Life-skills development – developing key skills for upholding rights and maintaining good health & wellbeing Referrals to health, protection and legal services including HIV testing & counselling, emergency shelter and mental health. A mixed-gender football tournament, involving young men who are peers and family members of the participants designed to promote gender equality. (We also have a parallel programme called Champions United which works with boys and young men to challenge gender discrimination). Progression plans developed for all participants to help them work towards goals and next steps in different areas of their lives including health, further opportunities to play sport and support towards sustainable livelihoods. This will include linking participants to other programmes at Kick4Life, such as our Kick 4 Trade employability programme as well as links to training & employment opportunities within our hospitality social enterprises (hotel, conference centre and restaurant which reinvest all profits into our Sport for Good programmes). There will lso be opportunities to progress to Kick4Life’s Youth Board as well as to participate in our new clilmate education and action sessions on promoting biodiversity, water preservation and preventing land degradation. Fifty of the most vulnerable participants will also become part of a Girls United Support Network, with monthly interventions throughout the two year project period providing more intensive and ongoing support. This will include access to our dedicated counsellors as required. In delivering the project we will work with a wide range of partner organisations including: – Organisations referring to Kick4Life, ensuring we can engage the most vulnerable young women in the programme. Participants will be referred from organisations such as Sentebale, Lesotho Girl Guides, Lesotho Network for People Living with HIV and Habitat for Humanity. – Organisations that we refer to including health clinics, mental health and counselling providers, and protection services, such as Baylor Clinic, Lesotho Red Cross and the Ministry for Health & Social Welfare. – Programmatic delivery partners, supporting delivery, such as Lesotho Football Association (LEFA), Olympic Youth Ambassadors Program (OYAP) and the Lesotho Sports & Recreation Committee (LSRC) who provide additional coach training and use of facilities. Through already established links, we would also like to further develop the involvement of Alliance Française de Maseru in the programme. We have a robust approach to Monitoring & Evaluation which includes pre and post assessments, focus groups and case studies, with objectives and outcomes of the programme linked to the targets and indicators of relevant Sustainable Development Goals. We are extremely passionate about using sport and football to empower young women, and the Girls United programme will work alongside our women’s football team, Champions United and other Kick4Life programmes to change attitudes about the role of women in society and to provide life-changing opportunities for participants.