Uganda: Kiryandongo Sports Development Program
Sports Program Increases the Capacity for Peace: Q3 2018
November 17, 2018
Naku Charles Lwanga
Summary of Activities
The refugee community has increased lately due to push factors in refugees’ countries of origin, especially South Sudan. Push factors include violence, financial instability, famine, lack of reliable services, etc. According to UNHCR statistics, there were 19,730 new South Sudanese arrivals in Kiryandongo between July 1, 2016, and September 25, 2016. The influx of South Sudanese refugees has led to the closure of the settlement to new arrivals since it cannot accommodate more people. However, numbers continue to increase, mainly due to family members being reunited. Children and mothers constitute about 80% of the settlement’s population.
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 monthly meetings at all levels, as well as daily monitoring and evaluation of Sports Development Program staff. As a result of these meetings, personnel from the Head Office became involved in addressing the grievances of the coaches.
- RMF purchased essential sports training items, including balls, cones, sports bibs, uniforms, and cleats, among others.
- Conducted regular soccer trainings and organized monthly matches both inside and outside of Kiryandongo Refugee Settlement.
Successful Dialogues Held
Creating Peace in the Community
Held successful dialogues involving the participation of the players, coaches, managers, and community leaders among others. By discussing key problems such as indiscipline cases and misunderstandings between players or staff, the dialogues helped create peace within the Sports Development Program and the community at large.
Capacity for Peace Grows
The social life of the players in the Kiryandongo Sports Development Program has greatly improved. Before the project implementation, the youths living in the settlement could not easily interact with the host community but as they gain experience socializing and interacting with the host community through matches, the capacity for peace between the two continues to grow.
Engaging in Tournaments
Improving Players’ Skills
During this reporting period, teams engaged in tournaments and friendly matches both within and outside of the settlement. The players have been able to play teams within the surrounding regions of Kiryandongo. These matches outside the settlement have helped to improve the skills of the players, promote peace between various groups, and expose players to other youth communities.
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