Uganda: Kiryandongo Sports Development Program

A Successful Start: Q2 2017

July 30, 2017
Alphonse Mwanamwolho and Naku Charles Lwanga


Summary of Activities


Promoting Peaceful Coexistence

In response to the tension so often observed between Nuer and Dinka refugee communities and the general lack of extracurricular activities available to refugee youths, Real Medicine Foundation (RMF) has leveraged our on-the-ground knowledge and resources—with training and initial assessment from PeacePlayers International and support from Laureus Sport for Good—to introduce a sports development program for the youths of Kiryandongo Refugee Settlement and the host community. The Kiryandongo Sports Development Program develops participants’ skills in sports (specifically soccer) and helps them deal with post-traumatic stress disorders, while promoting teamwork and friendly interactions among youths from different ethnic groups and the host community.

The program covers two ranches of Kiryandongo Refugee Settlement (Ranch 1 and Ranch 37). Each ranch has 4 teams comprised of boys and girls, with a target of 25 players per team. 8 teams have been created and are currently active, with 70% of participants from the refugee community and 30% from the host community.


Recruitment

As the first step towards implementing the Kiryandongo Sports Development Program (KSP), implemented by Real Medicine Foundation in partnership with the Office of the Prime Minister and PeacePlayers International, interviews were conducted at RMF Uganda’s office to recruit head coaches and assistant coaches. A panel of five senior administrators was formed to interview candidates who expressed interest in the positions. At the end of the exercise, the required 16 candidates were successfully chosen: 8 head coaches and 8 assistant coaches.

10 of the new coaches are refugees and 6 are from the host community.

The recruitment exercise and interviews were conducted fairly, and opportunity was given to both refugees and nationals, men and women. Candidates were assessed for various qualities, including academic ability, social skills, and the ability to coach or mentor under all circumstance. Refugee candidates were especially excited to be given the opportunity to build their potential, and the expressions of joy on their faces indeed proved their words.


Training

Implementation of the Kiryandongo Sports Development Program (KSP) began with a five-day training session led by PeacePlayers International for the coaches and assistant coaches, as well as RMF Uganda’s Sports Development Program Manager Anita Peace and Director of Programs Daniel Wakibi. The key objective for the training was to support RMF Uganda’s sports program coordinators and coaches in developing their skills as positive, caring adult role models for their teams and communities. The training was conducted by experts from the United States and South Africa, namely Ms. Rochelle, Mr. Joe, and Mr. Taban.

The training took place at RMF’s Panyadoli Vocational Training Institute and went on for five days, with both morning and afternoon sessions. The morning sessions started with breakfast at 9:30 AM, followed by training from 10:00 AM to 1:00 PM, a lunch break, and then more training from 12:00 PM to 4:00 PM. The training was very interactive and covered essential skills for coaches and coordinators, both on and off the field. The coaches especially gained a lot of new knowledge and further improved the skills they already possessed.

The training was both theoretical and practical; coaches were in class and took notes about what was being taught, but they were also taken to the field to practice. For example, coaches teamed up in three groups: Team No Violence, Team Strongest, and Team Stars (comprised of all coaches and assistant coaches) and ran competitive tasks like scoring and dribbling, among others. Room was made for asking questions, and the trainers were very easy to talk to, hence leaving an impact on the coaches. Skills learned during this training have been used by the coaches in the field with players, and the results have been excellent.


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Results &

Accomplishments

  • Running

    Eight Teams

    Successfully Recruited

    Eight teams have been successfully recruited in the community, and we are currently using four fields located in different areas of Kiryandongo Refugee Settlement: two fields in Ranch 1 and two fields in Ranch 37. There are two male teams and two female teams in each ranch. In consideration of our female players, their training is conducted in fields near their homes for easy access and additional safety. The trainings have been successful, and the coaches are doing an excellent job with the players.

  • Girls' Team

    Equipment Received

    Confidence Boosted

    Training equipment was received, including cones, beeps, uniforms, and cleats, among others. This has led to easy identification during training and competitions. It has also attracted more participants to the program and created more confidence in the existing players

  • People In Field

    Coaches and Players

    Reaching Goals

    A high level of discipline has been maintained among the coaches and players, which has led to lots of success, unity, and teamwork, hence achieving the original goals of the program.

    The team has had both home and away matches, which have helped to shape and improve their performances. Both male and female teams have had a fair share in the activities.


  • Training by Team from U.S.

    Inspiring Coaches, Building Confidence of Players

    The training was both theoretical and practical; coaches were in class and took notes about what was being taught, but they were also taken to the field to practice. For example, coaches teamed up in three groups: Team No Violence, Team Strongest, and Team Stars (comprised of all coaches and assistant coaches) and ran competitive tasks like scoring and dribbling, among others. Room was made for asking questions, and the trainers were very easy to talk to, hence leaving an impact on the coaches. Skills learned during this training have been used by the coaches in the field with players, and the results have been excellent.


  • Meeting with Partners

    Working to Address Challenges

    RMF also attended a meeting in Kiryandongo Refugee Settlement comprised of all implementing partners, where we were able to present the program’s challenges in hopes that the OPM will help us, especially with our need for land. The meeting also helped to create and strengthen relationships with other implementing partners and gain more exposure for our program.

    Challenges include:

    • Since most of the players are students, they report late to the field and don’t have time to practice as much as they should.
    • During this school term, most of the players are also representing their schools and are preoccupied by the school activities. They come to the field exhausted, hence affecting the program.
    • It has been difficult to find enough players for the girls’ teams. Most girls are in school and return home late. They get caught up doing housework and do not show up for trainings regularly.
    • The biggest challenge for the program is playing fields. Most of the fields we are using are for schools, and the time and maintenance restrictions affect training.

  • Playing Matches

    Promoting Unity

    The teams made a trip to Gulu, where they played with Football for Good (FFG) Academy. Under-12 and under-17 boys were represented, and the under-12 team came out with a draw, while the under-17 team took the victory. This trip impacted both the players and coaches. For example, the coaches got to see the level of organization and skill of training at the academy and promised to do the same for their various teams.

    The teams also visited Kigumba and played Sultan Academy. The girls’ under-17 and under-12 teams, as well as the boys’ under-17 team were represented. This was a success, as we had victory for both teams, which helped to build their confidence and self-esteem, hence building their potential.

    The teams also hosted matches in Kiryandongo Refugee Settlement with Abafra Academy and Erima boys. These matches were all successful and helped to build a good relationship between the teams and the host community, hence promoting unity.

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Background

& Objectives

Background

The divides and challenges from past trauma facing the youth of Kiryandongo Refugee Settlement are stark. With few structured activities for youth from both sides of the conflict in South Sudan to interact and a lack of exposure to activities and experiences outside of the camp, conflict between tribal groups within Kiryandongo Refugee Settlement is not uncommon. Bringing children and youth across tribes together to play sports with each other, as opposed to against each other, is an informal entry point that can be an initial bridge to larger societal change.

However, any program design can’t stop by simply addressing the current conflict, but also must speak to the trauma faced by youth before and since arriving in Kiryandongo Refugee Settlement. In 60% of the interviews conducted by RMF/PPI, “trauma from past experiences” was mentioned as a major issue facing children and youth today.

In the two primary schools PeacePlayers International (PPI) visited on their trip to Kiryandongo Refugee Settlement, there is an average of 1 teacher for every 93 students. In this environment, the Kiryandongo Sports Program has great potential to help its target beneficiaries develop the full range of life skills necessary for successful integration.


Objectives
  • Increase physical activity
  • Improve health
  • Decrease crime and violence within communities
  • Create greater community cohesion
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