Moroccan Athlete Using American Football to Effect Social Change and Inspire a Nation
Fouziya Madhouni has faced a number of challenges throughout her young life, but through her competitive drive and a surprising love for American football, she continues to tackle them head-on while aiming to be one of the greatest social entrepreneurs and athletes Morocco has ever seen. In 2020, while a management student at American University and an amateur football player, Fouziya was diagnosed with breast cancer. Determined not to let it define her, she used the diagnosis as motivation to ignite social change and empower women in her community. While undergoing chemotherapy treatments, she worked with the Egyptian Federation and the Philly Phantomz of the Women’s National Football Conference to organize the first-ever American Flag Football tournament in Africa. Two weeks after undergoing surgery, with the effects of chemo still disrupting her system, Fouziya bravely walked onto the football field and helped guide her team to the tournament championship. A few months later, she launched her NGO, We Can Morocco, as well as Africa’s first American Football Academy. Her projects empower girls and women to fully unlock their hidden potential through leadership courses and American football sessions while also engaging with men to discuss the role they play in advancing gender equality.
Fouziya’s work is helping to shift the cultural mindset regarding women’s position in Moroccan society. Traditional responsibilities in the home often limit women from pursuing other roles in the civic, political, and economic sectors. Although still in her associate year of university, Fouziya is resolved to initiate progressive change in her community.
Through her GSMP experience, Fouziya looks forward to establishing sustainable relationships with highly qualified people in the field. She hopes to learn how to develop more initiatives and programming for girls in Morocco and is committed to broadening her reach to the entire African continent. For GSMP: Empowering Women through Sports 2021, Fouziya will be mentored by Katie Montiel Vidaillet, Director of Consumer Engagement, Social and Sports Culture at Gatorade, and her team in Chicago, Illinois.