When I was growing up, there were no Egyptian role models to give me hope that I can make it. So it gives me great pleasure today to meet someone like Faiza Haidar who can inspire young female Egyptians looking to break grounds in female football.
Sarah Essam, Egyptian football player at Stoke City and the top goal scorer for the Stoke city development team
2007 - present
The Premier League
To provide young people, through football, opportunities to become better integrated into their local communities to develop their skills for employability and raise their self-esteem.
In a country where women are marginalized and excluded from different social, academic and professional activities, the Premier Skills programme in Egypt focuses on empowering women and girls through coach educator training and community development. It aims to change the prevailing culture and challenge harmful attitudes and behaviours using a sport-for-development model. It is currently going further to try and impact other factions of society that are discriminated against, such as people with disabilities.
Premier Skills is a partnership between the British Council and the Premier League which uses football to develop a brighter future for young people around the world.
To reach a wide base of young people in Egypt, we partnered with the Ministry of Youth and Sports to organise face-to-face training for coaches and referees, whereby the participants are then supported in developing their own community-focused football projects.
In 2018, as part of the 80th anniversary celebrations of the British Council in Egypt, a new partnership with the Ministry was signed in Luxor to expand the programme across Upper Egypt through the “1000 Dreams 1000 Girls” programme.
Today, over 80,000 children have been impacted by the programme, and over 40% of participants are girls.
The first female coach educator and programme ambassador, Faiza Haidar, is currently the captain of Egypt’s female national football team.
Faiza used her newly acquired skills to kickstart a project she is passionate about, which involves including disabled children into the game, who have strong resilience and are a source of inspiration. She put together the first national integrated football team that brought home the bronze medal at the Special Olympics at Chicago in 2018.
Through increasing the capacity of Coach Educators to train new coaches to run inclusive community football activities, young people (particularly from underrepresented groups) have increased opportunities to play football and get involved in their community.
Due to its measurable impact, the Premier Skills programme will kick off its 5th round in Egypt in 2019 and will run for another three years.
As one of the UK’s most vibrant global brands and standout institutions, partnering with the Premier League on the Premier Skills programme directly generates influence and attraction. Premier Skills has been found to build engagement and trust for the UK through the exchange of knowledge and ideas between policymakers and practitioners in football and related youth and education sectors.
The programme underlines the Premier League’s desire to help develop the grassroots of the game in the country and uses football to build cultural bridges between Egypt and the UK. For example, in 2019, a football festival for refugees was organized in Egypt, where a Kenyan coach educator was invited to deliver a Premier Skills football activity that addresses violence against women and girls.