Helping women through sport

Funding for Sport Relief projects championing gender equality.    

Sports projects in Africa that tackle social issues affecting women and girls are to receive £1.75 million funding in a collaboration between the Scottish Government and Comic Relief.

Funding for Levelling the Field Phase II will build on the success of the first joint programme by supporting organisations that use sport to challenge issues such as violence against women in Malawi, Rwanda and Zambia. It will also increase access to education, employment and training to marginalised women and girls.

International Development Minister Jenny Gilruth announced the new phase of funding at an event to celebrate Sport Relief in Davidson’s Mains Primary School, Edinbrugh. She was joined by Tackle Africa, a previous funding grantee that use the power and popularity of football to deliver HIV and sexual and reproductive health and rights information to young people in Africa.

Ms Gilruth said:

“We know that sport can be a powerful tool for social change so I’m pleased to announce the Scottish Government is again teaming up with Comic Relief to build on the success of our previous work together for Levelling the Field Phase II. We’ve been working together for eight years now, and it is through this partnership, and the public’s generosity, that we have been able to support organisations using sport to tackle challenges faced by women in some of the world’s most vulnerable communities.

“It’s been great to see how one of the grantees, Tackle Africa, use the funding in practice and also hearing of the excellent fundraising activities by the pupils and staff at Davidson’s Mains Primary School over the past few years.”

Harriet Jameson, Interim Executive Director, Impact and Investments, at Comic Relief said:

“We’re incredibly excited to launch the next phase of our partnership with the Scottish Government.

“Levelling the Field started in 2017 to support Sport for Change projects that tackle social issues including negative gender stereotypes and violence experienced by women and girls so that they can develop essential life skills, improve their self-esteem and increase their access to education, employment and training, creating leadership opportunities.

“Our next phase will build on this so that we can empower and inspire even more marginalised women and girls.”


The Scottish Government’s International Development Fund supports and empowers some of the most vulnerable people in our partner countries, Malawi, Zambia, Rwanda and Pakistan. Funding is awarded to a range of organisations carrying out work on the ground, in collaboration with local partners and with the support of local communities.  

Schemes that have benefitted from previous funding include a Rwandan project that uses basketball to engage women and girls, a karate project in Lusaka for young people not attending school and another project is using yoga to reach out to young mothers for the first time.

Sport Relief

Comic Relief created the first ever Sport Relief in 2002, and since then, eight Sport Reliefs have raised over £378 million. The money raised by Sport Relief supports people in the UK and around the world by tackling issues such as homelessness, domestic abuse, mental health stigma and child poverty.  

Tackle Africa

Founded in 2002 by young people from the UK who had lived or worked in Africa, Tackle Africa is based in Malawi and uses football coaching to teach young Africans about sexual health and HIV. The charity reaches around 20,000 young people every year.

Tackle Africa have been funded under Phase 1 of the Scottish Government/Comic Relief Levelling the Field Programme, in a project using football coaching to provide 1,200 teenage mothers and 1,200 adolescent girls in Mangochi and Mchinji, the two districts in Malawi with the highest prevalence of teenage pregnancy in the country.


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