SEATTLE, Washington — Alex Morgan is a two-time World Champion. She has appeared for the United States 169 times, scoring 107 goals. Soccer has been a constant in her life. It’s something that allowed her goal-scoring prowess to take the global stage. However, it was a trip to the East African nation of Tanzania that changed the way Alex Morgan saw soccer. That is how Alex Morgan helping kids in Tanzania changed her life.
Alex Morgan Helping Kids Through UNICEF
In 2016, Morgan partnered with UNICEF to introduce its Kid Power Team. Millions of kids across the globe suffer from chronic hunger and malnutrition. The Kid Power Team helps kids unlock their full potential by
“connecting their everyday activities to real-world impact.” Through implementing exercise in the classroom or at home, kids earn “currency for good.” This currency goes towards providing nutrition to children around the world. By 2019, the Kid Power Team has saved at least 100,00 children.
That experience inspired Morgan to continue to do something with her platform that was bigger than the game. She wanted to add to her soccer story. That is why Morgan and her husband, Servando Carrasco of the L.A. Galaxy Major League Soccer team, decided to take advantage of a trip sponsored by the U.S. Department of State Sports Envoys to Tanzania in 2017.
Alex Morgan Helping Kids in Tanzania
The U.S. Department of State Sports Envoys is fostered by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. It promotes positive relations between people in the United States and other countries. The department teams up with leagues, athletes and coaches to choose ambassadors to host clinics, visit schools and initiate conversations on the value of diversity, health and education.
In Tanzania, Morgan and Carrasco hosted soccer clinics and visited schools. In an open piece published by The Player’s Tribune, Morgan shares her experience in Tanzania. She recalls the young girls in Zanzibar, a
predominantly Muslim community. Some of the girls had been disowned by their families for choosing to play soccer. Morgan credits these girls for their aspirations to have their own soccer story.
“I went to try to lend a helping hand, to give advice…but I feel like what…ended up happening was I learned so much about their stories…and how people around the world are trying to increase the respect for girls and women in sports – like we are respected here in the U.S,” Morgan said of her experience in Tanzania.
Problems in Tanzania
Power imbalances, gender stereotypes and structural challenges are the root causes of gender inequality in Tanzania. The nation ranks 125 out of 155 in the Gender Inequality Index. The United Nations Development Program aims to build equality by improving access to information, ensuring voices be heard in development policies and different interventions and training.
Tanzania has experienced promising economic growth and poverty reduction over the past decade. The 2019 Tanzania Mainland Poverty Assessment found poverty in Tanzania was 26.4 percent in 2018, a decrease from 2007 when the rate was 34.4 percent. Despite the growth, there is a large portion of the population that may fall into poverty as nearly half still live below the poverty line.
A soccer ball is more than just a piece of equipment. For some, it is the most important part of their soccer story. Alex Morgan helping kids in Tanzania was one way this soccer star could give back.
– Gwendolin Schemm