As one way of enticing girls to show interest in gaming, one of Mzuzu based youth led organisations, Extra Mile for Development Foundation (EMDEF) has introduced an Esports and Gaming project targeting young women and girls in the city.
This comes as esports or online gaming has been gaining traction as one of the most lucrative sectors at local and international but is largely dominated by boys and men.
According to EMDEF programs manager Watipaso Ng’oma, this project has been launched in order for girls and young women to also have the same opportunities as their male counterparts in pursuing online gaming as a source of income as well as improving their computer skills.
“The target for this project is a girl child. For so long gaming especially video gaming is mostly dominated by men hence the project is targeting females to participate in video games to reduce gender stereotypes.
“Over 80% of people in our communities judge females by the way they look and not by their ability to do an activity. This is against the gender policy of Malawi which promotes equal participation for both males and females in development activities,” said Ng’oma.
He added that the projects also will improve participants’ thinking capacity as well as giving them safe spaces to discuss issues affecting their livelihoods.
“Decision making skills are also likely to improve as these are used when playing the games which include FIFA, Mortal Kombat, Need for Speed among others and in these spaces we also discuss various social issues girls and boys face and identify solutions together,” he added.
15 year old Eneless Phiri from Nkhorongo in the outskirts of Mzuzu is one of the girls currently benefitting from the project as schools are on end of year holiday and she says this is the first time she has used a computer and hopes the knowledge will go a long way in assisting her as she progresses with her education.
“I did not know how to use the computer or play video games, but now I am progressing well, I am able to score goals on FIFA and it feels great to be spending my time here during this school holiday.
“So far I have learnt how to think fast when playing the games and I expect to benefit so much from this project and I have also made new friends here,” she proudly says.
The project comes at a time when Malawi is going to host the inaugural Southern Africa Regional Esports Championships 2022 (SAREC 2022) scheduled to take place during the region 5 youth championships that are slated for 3rd and 4th of December 2022 in Lilongwe.
EDMEF is implementing the project in partnership with Transformation of Youths & Women Empowerment -TYWE, through financial and technical support from Women Win under the Onside Gaming Fund.
It is currently benefiting girls in Nkhorongo, Chibavi and Hilltop in the City of Mzuzu.