Uganda: Kiryandongo Sports Development Program

Special Training Conducted by Soccer Expert: Q1 2018

July 18, 2018

Alphonse Mwanamwolho and Naku Charles Lwanga

Traveling for a soccer match in Gulu, northern Uganda

Traveling for a soccer match in Gulu, northern Uganda

Summary of Activities

Moving the Program Forward

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 reporting period, the following activities were carried out:

  • Conducted regular soccer trainings and organized matches both inside and outside of Kiryandongo Refugee Settlement.
  • The team made a trip to Kampala, where they were hosted by the Airtel Rising Stars in Gayaza. This was a great opportunity for sharing experiences.
  • The project purchased essential training equipment, 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.
  • Maintained and greened the playing fields that are being used for practice.
  • Conducted 2 dialogue sessions with the players to help build discipline and good habits among the participants.
  • 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 coaches with Kiryandongo Resident District Commissioner (center right)

The coaches with Kiryandongo Resident District Commissioner (center right)

Results and Accomplishments

Attracting Media Attention, Providing Scholarships

The program hosted a total of 3 teams from other districts and 4 teams from the host community. This has been a good avenue for interaction and, consequently, creating bonds of friendship among participants.

Additionally, RMF *purchased essential sports training item*s, including balls, cones, sports bibs, uniforms, and cleats, among others.

A special training session was conducted for the coaches by Asuman Lubega, an expert in soccer and a general advisor of the Federation of Uganda Football Associations (FUFA) House Uganda. During these sessions, the coaches were taught special skills for managing a team.

The sports development program has started attracting media attention. During the reporting period, the StarTimes TV crew came and conducted media interviews with the participants. This is helping to create publicity for the program.

The sports program has enabled some participants to secure scholarships for secondary school.

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

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.