Astro Malaysia Holdings Berhad (Astro) is Malaysia’s leading content and consumer company in the TV, OTT, radio, digital and commerce space with growing ASEAN presence. Launched in 1996, Astro is a trusted brand to over 23 million individuals in 5.5 million homes, broadcasting over 153 channels, of which 56 are in HD. Astro is also the leading aggregator, creator and distributor of original multi-language content of various genres across multi-channels.

Its radio network includes the highest-rated stations across Malaysia’s four key languages, engaging with 16.5 million weekly audiences on-air and online. Its digital arm is involved in digital publishing, applications and platforms as well as publication of entertainment and lifestyle magazines locally.

Project Title:
Astro Kem Bola

The Astro Kem Bola programme aims to break this stereotype by changing the negative perception surrounding girls playing football. We intend to do this by increasing girls’ participation and encouraging them to actively pick up the sport. The programme provides an opportunity for girls (and boys) between the ages of 10 and 12 to experience professional training – which they would not otherwise have the opportunity – with world-renowned football academies in Europe. Kem Bola involves Selection Camps in Malaysia, Singapore and Philippines, an Advanced Camp in KL and an Overseas Camp.

Since its inception in 2012, the Kem Bola has reached more than 14,000 girls and boys.

  • In 6 years, the profile of girls’ football in Malaysia has increased with more girls participating, and subsequently joining the only dedicated sports school which houses female footballers: Sekolah Sukan Malaysia Sabah [SSMS]. As at the end of 2017, 7 former Kem Bola girls were enrolled in SSMS and are playing for the Malaysian under-14 and under-16 women’s team. Emily Joinin, a former participant who stands out was also selected to return to mentor and share her knowledge with a new group of aspiring footballers.
  • In 2013, the female participants of Kem Bola were brought to watch a professional Cardiff City FC women’s game to expose them to a high-level competitive match.

What impact has this project created in the community/nation?

  • We champion equality through the programme and hope the nation has seen how football has the potential to influence democratic practices through team building and leadership exercises, as well as foster social inclusion for a multi-cultural population.
  • Kem Bola shows that girls, just like boys, can benefit from competition and recreation, and has provided girls with a platform to interact, grow, and influence each other in a positive way.
  • Kem Bola shows that girls, just like boys, can benefit from competition and recreation, and has provided girls with a platform to interact, grow, and influence each other in a positive way.

How has this project help to advance the chosen SDG?

  • Kem Bola has championed gender equality through participation and this is reflected in the shortlisting process whereby 50% of placements are strictly reserved for girls in the Advanced and overseas Camps respectively.
  • Progress has also been aided by the recognition from FAM that Kem Bola is a credible programme to develop grassroots football and more specifically, girls’ football in Malaysia.

The tagline for United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UNSDGs) is “Leaving No One Behind.” explain how your project helps to realize the commitment of UNSDGs for the future.

  • We are aware that that achieving gender equality (SDG 5) is central to the development of football and human rights, not only in the region, but the world.
  • Besides championing gender equality, the programme indirectly tackles poverty (SDG 1). In the case of the Philippines, Kem Bola extends primarily to children from under-privileged communities in the provinces. It is evident that football CAN change individuals and communities for the better.
  • In addition to providing a platform for girls to play competitively, Kem Bola more importantly encourages young people throughout the region to lead a healthy lifestyle (SDG 3), whilst getting the chance to experience high-level coaching.
  • We also aim to bridge the gap in providing quality education (SDG 4) to our participants. Kem Bola is more than just providing football training – the course includes classroom sessions which educate the participants on the theoretical aspects of the game, as well as workshops that teach them camera confidence, for example.
  • Lastly, the Kem Bola continues to establish long-term, multistakeholder collaborations (SDG 17) with various partners. This is crucial in forming a stronger commitment to partnership and cooperation that is needed to achieve our goal of ensuring gender equality not only in football, but all aspects of ife.

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