Supporting women and girls through sport

Scottish Government funding will help Comic Relief champion gender equality in Africa.

Comic Relief projects that use sport to help address social issues affecting women and girls in Africa will receive additional funding from the Scottish Government.

The joint Levelling The Field programme, which invests in organisations to support women and girls to reach their full potential in Malawi, Rwanda and Zambia, will receive an extra £500,000 for the second phase of its partnership work over the next three years.

The programme – which works to ensure women and girls are safe, equal and respected, empowering them and their decision making – will also be extended by a year because of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

This second Levelling the Field programme will run until 2024, with the Scottish Government now investing £1.5 million in total, and Comic Relief providing £885,000.

The funding, announced ahead of Red Nose Day on 19 March, is being awarded to locally led organisations in Malawi, Rwanda, and Zambia as part of the Scottish Government’s commitment to increasing the amount of funding directly invested in partner countries.

International Development Minister Jenny Gilruth said:

“Sport can be a powerful tool for social change, so I’m pleased to announce the Scottish Government is once again teaming up with Comic Relief to support these important projects.

“Through this partnership, and the public’s generosity, we have been able to directly support organisations using sport to tackle challenges faced by women in some of the world’s most vulnerable communities, and we are delighted to extend our support further.

“Our recent review of international development policy clearly identified the need to support projects that promote the equality of women and girls in our partner countries in ensuring a sustainable recovery from COVID-19.

“We know, in particular, that COVID-19 is deepening pre-existing inequalities and exposing vulnerabilities in social, political and economic systems - our decision to establish a new Equalities Programme reflects the urgency of that challenge.”

Chief Executive of Comic Relief Samir Patel said:

“We are excited for the next phase of our partnership with the Scottish Government that will help support and empower hundreds of women and girls in Malawi, Rwanda and Zambia.

“We know that sport can create real long-term positive change and this funding will help challenge gender stereotypes and increase opportunities in education, employment, training, and leadership.

"This work is needed now more than ever during the pandemic and throughout the recovery.”


The first Levelling the Field project ran from 2017-20, with the Scottish Government investing £1.2 million, and Comic Relief investing £600,000.

The Scottish Government recently published its review of international development policy, more information can be read here.

You can read the review document here.

Read the new Scottish Government international development principles, formulated with the inclusion of a wide range of Scottish Government policy areas including climate, health, trade, education and equalities.


Media enquiries

Back to top