Uganda: Kiryandongo Sports Development Program
10 Players Offered Scholarships for Secondary School: Q4 2017
February 01, 2018
Alphonse Mwanamwolho and Naku Charles Lwanga
Summary of Activities
RMF has continued to implement our sports development program, which is promoting psychological wellbeing, life skills, and cooperation among the youth. The program has helped diffuse some of the tension existing between different tribes from South Sudan.
During this Quarter:
- Regular soccer trainings were conducted within Kiryandongo Refugee Settlement among the 8 teams that were created at the beginning of the program.
- The program hosted Lee Parker of Laureus Sport for Good. He visited the program and had an opportunity of interacting with different stakeholders participating in the program. This helped to strengthen the relationship between RMF and Laureus Sport for Good.
- The project purchased training equipment, including balls, training jerseys, uniforms, and cleats. 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 because they are adequately facilitated.
- The teams have played in 12 football (American soccer) competitions, including home and away games. The games have been with teams from Masindi, Gulu, Lira, and Kigumba. Other encounters were with teams like Alpha Young, Football for Good, and Lady Doves. These encounters have provided an opportunity for improving talent and increasing chances for exposure.
10 Players Offered Scholarships
10 players, including both boys and girls, have been offered scholarships by Alliance Integrated Secondary School for their secondary education, while 1 student is on scholarship at Kigumba Intensive Secondary School. In this way, the program is providing an opportunity for talent exhibition.
The program conducted 4 dialogue sessions with players in schools and during school holidays. During dialogue sessions, the members are sensitized about the dangers of conflict, substance abuse, and sexual promiscuity, among others. Unity among team members is encouraged through the dialogue sessions, as well as collaborating in respect and love with parents/caregivers. Participants are gradually realizing the importance of living in harmony in the community.
Throughout the reporting period, coaches of the different teams have been meeting together, which helps them coordinate the training activities of the program. During these meetings, the coaches are able to evaluate their performance, and this has become an important part of moving the program forward.
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.
- Increase physical activity
- Improve health
- Decrease crime and violence within communities
- Create greater community cohesion
David Nyon, a 16-year-old boy of the Lopit tribe, is a South Sudanese refugee born and raised in Kiryandongo Refugee Settlement (thus, he is also Ugandan). Before the Kiryandongo Sports Development Program began, David stayed at home after his Primary Leaving Examinations (PLE) because his parents could not afford school fees for his secondary education. He was a demoralized teenager who did not know if he would ever go back to school.
When the project was implemented, David first hesitated to join because he did not know its benefits. Later, he reluctantly joined to pass time and add variety to his days. He was encouraged by the way the coaches mobilized and conducted the trainings and realized that there were many benefits to the program, including promoting peace, physical exercise/good health, and exposure to different opportunities.
Having attained adequate training, David has become a soccer star in Kiryandongo District and has been awarded a full year’s secondary school scholarship by Alliance Integrated Secondary School for 2018. He is overwhelmed with excitement because his long-lost dream has come true and he has been enrolled for further education. He is grateful to the Kiryandongo Sports Development Program for the skills and exposure that have earned him this achievement.
Charity Aya is a 28-year-old young woman who was raised in South Sudan but came to Kiryandongo Refugee Settlement because of the 2013 conflict in South Sudan. She is Kakwa by tribe and currently works as an assistant coach with the Kiryandongo Sports Development Program. Before the program, Charity experienced many hardships because she was new to the settlement, didn’t have a livelihood, and her family was stuck in South Sudan.
As luck would have it, the sports development program began searching for coaches and assistant coaches, an opportunity that Charity jumped at. From the money that she earns, she has managed to retrieve her graduation papers from her university in South Sudan and bring her family to the settlement.
To Charity, the Kiryandongo Sports Development Program is a godsend, and she cannot hide her appreciation towards PeacePlayers International and Real Medicine Foundation for the opportunity and empowering initiative.