Uganda: Kiryandongo Sports Development Program
Peace Engagement Day Benefits Players: Q3 2019
November 18, 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.
- Friendly matches went on successfully and 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.
- Peace Engagement Day was a sports competition event organized by peacebuilding partners in the camp, which include Whitaker Uganda and RMF, and other partners were also welcomed to participate. We fully participated in this event and managed to secure the second position after Whitaker Uganda.
- The playing fields used for practice were maintained and greened.
- 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.
- We were able to organize two friendly games on August 10 and September 14 with Gentle Stars United and the Water Trust Kiryandongo team, respectively. The first game ended in favor of the RMF team at 2-1, and we lost the second one at 2-3. Great thanks goes to our committed coaches and players for exhibiting such talent in soccer and sports in general.
- Friendly matches with other teams improved the players’ skills and knowledge and helped them to understand and work on their areas of weakness.
Peace Engagement Day was of great value to our players, since it reaffirmed their belief in the objectives and goals of the project. Players also got the chance to interact with each other and exchange thoughts about numerous topics, including peace and coexistence in the community.
This event, which included a large number of sport activities, awarded the final champion with a large goat.
- The teams conducted daily trainings in the 4 community fields in Arnold, St. Bakhita, Canrom, and Cluster K. The fields have aided the daily activity trainings, furthering the success of the project as a whole.
- Daily sports trainings have continued smoothly, creating a positive training environment for the players. Counseling is also conducted for players with mental illness or trauma due to domestic violence.
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