Uganda: Kiryandongo Sports Development Program
Celebrating World Refugee Day: Q2 2019
September 09, 2019
Sylvia Nakiirya and Daniel Wakibi
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.
- Essential training equipment was purchased, including balls, sports bibs, 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 playing fields used for practice were maintained and greened.
- The team conducted 3 monthly meetings between the coaches and the project manager to discuss and address matters pertaining to the sports development program as well as plans for the continued smooth operation of the project. These meetings are often held at our field office at Panyadoli Vocational Training Institute and shared by the project manager.
- Coaches of the different teams have been meeting throughout the reporting period, which has helped them coordinate training activities. During these meetings, the coaches are able to evaluate their performances, and this has become an important part of moving the program forward.
- Friendly matches and World Refugee Day games exposed our players to many people with diverse backgrounds and experiences, which not only opened our players’ minds, but also made it possible for them to assimilate into the host community and adopt new ideas athletically, which is an advantage for our project.
- The team received visitors from TackleAfrica Hoima and United Kingdom, who came to monitor and observe the impact and performance of this project on lives of refugees in Kiryandongo Refugee Settlement. TackleAfrica wanted to understand the initial stage of the project, its objectives, goals, and viable impacts on the lives of refugees, and to potentially adopt some of these project objectives and share their own with us.
Improving the Players’ Skills
We managed to organize two friendly games between Panyadoli Self Help Secondary School and the Danish Refugee Council team, one on May 18 and the other on June 15. Friendly matches with other teams improved the players’ skills and knowledge and helped them to understand and work on their areas of weakness. These games ended in favor of our team after a win of 2-1 and a 1-1 tie, respectively. Great thanks goes to our committed coaches and players for exhibiting such talent in soccer and sports in general.
Mentorship Promotes Peace
The teams conducted daily trainings in the 4 community fields in Arnold, St. Bakhita, Magamaga, and Cluster K. The fields have aided the daily activity trainings, furthering the success of the project as a whole. The daily trainings imparted both practical and theoretical soccer skills in the players, and the mentorship element of the program instills them with peacebuilding ideas. Counseling is also conducted for players with mental illness or trauma due to domestic violence.
World Refugee Day Games
Celebrating with Our Partners
We were able to organize games as part of the celebration marking World Refugee Day. These games took place at Kiryandongo Refugee Settlement, and a number of implementing partners participated, such as the Danish Refugee Council (DRC), Windle Trust International (WTI), and Whitaker Peace & Development Initiative (WPDI), among others, which made the day amazing for both active participants and those cheering the players on from the sidelines.
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