January 4, 2011
Report from the Field – Festus Juma of Society Empowerment Project in Oyugis, Kenya
In the month of December 2010, SEP held a Female Empowerment workshop for three days, with 20 members in attendance. After the workshop, SEP proceeded with the programme to the next level, football. The power of football to communicate, for social integration and building of relationship was overtly proved. Football brings together the old age, middle and the young. Below is Charltone F. Juma, 3 years old, demonstrating the joy in football, as he too celebrates SEP Victory in the December event, Female Empowerment through Football.
SEP Girls and young boys in a group discussion and plenary session during a workshop on Female Empowerment. The two days work shop was organized by SEP through the support of Kampala 2 Cape Town, USA and GTZ/YDF. The workshop addressed different issues affecting girl child, ranging from early pregnancy, early marriage, early sexual debut, HIV/AIDS, school dropout, lack of independent decision making among others. The workshop therefore aimed at empowering the girls with appropriate skills about their rights, role in the community and as peer educators and coaches.
The workshop was full of fun moment as a way of holding participants’ concentration throughout the training session. One on one group discussion proved to be an effective way through which the youth shared their experiences, as they sought common ground on way forward to their challenges.
Some of the factors leading to school dropout as was identified by the girls include; premarital sexual relationship, unwanted / early pregnancy, early marriage, poverty, lack of information, and lack of meaningful leisure activities among others. During the workshop, possible ways to combat the vice were suggested, ranging from active involvement of girls in soccer sessions, saying “NO” to premarital sexual relations, respect of girls voice especially when they say ‘NO’ to early sexual debut, (for boys), identifying personal goals and vision, conducting regular trainings on thematic areas and making follow ups on the same, being responsible at personal level among others. Involving girls at various levels, right from Agriculture, football and 3 leadership positions was also identified as a strategy of curbing down the vice. Increasing girl child enrolment in school, and taking long time in studies / school life was also seen as one of the areas through which girls can be empowered to attain bright and independent future. Self body development among girls was also a topic exhaustively discussed, including reproductive health such as contraceptives etc.
SEP Girls’ team on arrival in Kisumu at the Lutheran Special School where they were accommodated, gather to fetch water for their use in the hostels as they prepared for a match the following day in Kisumu. The tournament was organized to give girls’ the opportunity to network with other girls from different districts, as well as to share their achievements/experiences and challenges.
SEP Girls during half time during their match with Suba Lakers in Mbita, listening to instructions from a visiting coach who is SEP friend. The match ended at 1-1, with SEP scoring in the 15th minute of the second half, and Suba Lakers equalizes 4 minutes before the final whistle! SEP members celebrated the game nd below ot is a joint photo between SEP and Suba Lakers, a sign of fair play demonstrated throughout the match.
October 31, 2010
By Michael Zuckerman, Uganda Field Coordinator
For the 2010 World Cup program I was stationed in a slum of Kampala the capital of Uganda. The first thing I noticed as we embarked on the grassroots program was that there was plastic (they call it poly) EVERYWHERE!!! Around the community screening site and across the city they just throw plastic on the ground not thinking anything of it – I asked a food vendor if he had a bin to take my trash and he lost it laughing was clapping and hitting his knee. But that is the consciousness here.
With this ground reality I decided to give environmental sustainability as the theme working with our community host, the Kybando Vocational Training Center, a vocational school that is helping kids gain technical skills in the Kyebando section of Kampala. They never considered poly being something to tackle. They burn it all or it goes on the street or in the streams. With hundreds of attendees to our live screenings of the World Cup matches within the community center we saw it was an opportunity to organize an environmental clean-up.
Between World Cup matches we mobilized a massive crowd to go around Kyebando and clean up all the plastic and trash that is everywhere. We had over 150 people including students, community workers, local politicians, street kids, youth elders… everyone. We gathered 30 rice sacks of trash. Things don’t always go according to plan in Africa, but this was such a success. When trying to talk to people about plastic it often feels like they don’t see the big deal, but today with a united force we did an amazing amount of work to clean but even more to raise consciousness. We named the street the center is on, put in signs that say litter free zone, imagine a better future.
We were able to do so many cool things around the environmental cleanups and World Cup screenings. A local community member started making soccer balls out of plastic and giving them out to kids. What started as a small idea turned into a craze around the community with hundreds of balls being made. I also gave speeches during half time about environmental issues and later found an even more effective to feature local citizens in talks.
Through the excitement of the World Cup program and our ability in providing the community with a safe space to watch the matches empowered me to make meaningful political and media contacts. Through these high level contacts and connection to the grassroots community, the Kampala 2 Cape Town enabled powerful civic engagement. The culmination of this was the protest over an unsafe crossing space on a new road nearby the community screening site. Many lives were being lost due to a lack of road safety rules and so I was able to organize a massive protest which included me being interviewed on the most popular morning show in Uganda.
Overall the Kampala 2 Cape Town experience was special for me as an American and the Kyebando community as we both utilized the first World Cup in Africa as an entry point to engage and then ultimately change the community for the better. The clean ups, plastic soccer balls and a crossing guard have continued since the project ended. Additional funds to support the legecy projects of Kampala to Capetown will show the community that progress can continue. The crossing Guard has greatly reduced the number of deaths at the deadliest intersection in Uganda. He required just $2.20 US and is appreciated by old and young. Plastic Bag Balls (Buevera Balls) are continuing to be made and purchased form children for $0.40 each.
October 23, 2010
By George Githuma, Zambia Site Coordinator
Crowd waiting for World Cup screen to go up near Mongu, Zambia
Mongu is a small town situated in the Western part of Zambia, 600kms from Lusaka, the capital city of Zambia. It is the administrative town of the western province of Zambia and it is home to the Lozi people. It is a 6 to 8 hour drive from Lusaka to this town which is known for the Kwomboka ceremony. The Kwomboka ceremony is an annual event where the tribal king (also known as the Litunga), moves from his palace in the flood plain using a large canoe, to his other palace in the high land. World Cup in My Village (WCIMV) project took the World Cup to this remote town of Zambia.
Sunset in Zambia village outside Mongu
The project which was a partnership between UNICEF, Children’s Radio Foundation (CRF) and local partners aimed to show the World Cup in remote areas of the Western province using a projector and a large inflatable screen. WCIMV was a great experience for Mongu residence and especially the children. The project reached out to more than 6,000 (60%-70% being children) people in seven villages of Mongu over a weeks time. The screening of the matches took place between 4.00pm and 10.30pm and this happened at community schools in these villages.
Kids in Mongu, Zambia
This made it easy for most people to attend as the schools were considered central venues by the residents. It was also easy to get the word out about the matches, using the school administration. Most of the residents in these villages did not have television sets in homes, neither did they have electricity.
In one of the villages we went to, most of the kids had been watching the World Cup at the school head teacher residence as he was the only person with a television set in the area, and they had to pay for that. For others, they had been depending on radio for results of matches and updates on the tournament.Before the start of the project, CRF held a two day radio workshop with 17 youth journalists. The journalist who were between 12 and 18 years old were given training on interviews and on doing stories for radio. The youth journalist would help in documenting the project using radio.
Some of the stories they produced can be found on www.childrensradiofoundation.org or http://www.unicef.org.
Laz, a wonderful Grassroots Soccer Facilitator
They were also trained to carry out talk shows which happened during half time of matches. The youth journalists involved in the project were really excited to acquire radio skills and carry out interviews with their fellow youths and opinion leaders in the community. They also visited two community radio stations, Radio Liseli and Radio Liambai, who were willing to work with them after the project. Zambia is generally a peaceful country and thus security was not a big concern. We however had two armed police officers every day for the security of our equipment.
The police officers also helped in controlling the crowd around the equipment. For our electricity, we had a 2000watts generator, since the community schools we went to, did not have power. We had a technician on site every day to make sure we had quality signal and any electrical hitches were sorted out.However the project was organised in a short span of time, most of the stake holders including the local partners, District Education Department and the schools where the matches were held, felt that they more time was need to prepare.
The timing of the games was also not the best for the children as the games ran up to 10.30pm which is quite late for the children. Some of the children were not accompanied by parents to the event and it was really hard to establish if they would get home safely after the matches. Most of the kids also, did not have proper dressing for the cold night. It was also hard for the parents of the youth journalists, who were still in school, to allow them to stay out all that late.
October 9, 2010
The second in a series of reflections on our K2CT launch from Kenya Coordinator Aliza Waxman!
Kampala 2 Cape Town (K2CT) partnered with Society Empowerment Project (SEP), a Community-Based Organization in Oyugis, Kenya to set up a community World Cup viewing venue from June – July 10th, 2010. The Two-Wheeled Foundation (a 501c3) provided SEP with an open air cinema screen, a blower, a DVD player and sufficient funds to establish the site and screen the games for all 30 days of the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
From day one, SEP and the community took full ownership and responsibility over the donated equipment and maintenance of the site. They used a local technician, security guard, community chief and volunteers to set up and operate the site throughout the 30 days. The games were screened every evening on the soccer field at Kotieno Primary School, when at its height, hosted 500 viewers for the Ghana and Brazil games. During half time, K2CT Kenya organized educational activities , where SEP’s staff introduced the concept of K2CT, ‘a network of youth soccer leagues built across Africa in partnership with the United States and international community as a legacy to Africa’s first soccer World Cup’.
All of the activities were documented and shared with youth on the East Coast to engage them in philanthropic activity with the children in the rural sites.The K2CT Kenya partnership was further developed through the introduction of SEP’s Female Empowerment Through Football, a project focused on incorporating locally introduced life skills training into SEP’s girls soccer league. The goal of Female Empowerment Through Football is to train girls in leadership skills, inspire them to use football for overcoming challenges experienced by women in their local community, and create clubs where girls feel comfortable openly discussing personal issues and seeking advice from one another.
The training will educate girls on their basic human rights and equip them with knowledge and self esteem that will enable them to make healthy choices, empowering them at home and in their future relationships. In addition, the project will focus on connecting the girls to their peers in the East Coast of the United States.
On the final day of the world cup, the K2CT Kenya field coordinator and SEP organized a girls soccer tournament where they introduced the Female Empowerment project to the community, and elected the eldest girls soccer captain to lead the program. The project was introduced to the girls after the tournament by the Kenya Field Coordinator and translated into Luo, the local language.Young women, you are the future leaders of Kenya. Your talent in football and team building has equipped you with the necessary skills to strengthen this community and your country at large. By motivating young girls you will not only share your leadership skills, but inspire talent that can be used to strengthen the girls program and promote international recognition.
The network that has been built by Kampala 2 Cape town will be used to build international awareness, and bring in resources for this community, for economic and sustainable development. However, it is up to you girls to make this happen.When I return to America, I want to hear stories of female leadership, ones that can be shared for generations of women in Africa to come, to strengthen this continent and allow for the world to see what I discovered long ago, Africa as the future; the future for peace, humanity and environmental sustainability.Since the end of the world cup, SEP has reported on the progress of the project.
They have allocated US $1,315.00 USD to Female Empowerment and are currently working with the Kenya field coordinator to apply for grants and seek volunteers from Right to Play in Uganda and medical students from the University of Cape Town in South Africa to bring in life skills training for the youth and SEP’s staff. We are awaiting a the funds for follow up and our photos, videos and stories have been submitted to Two Wheeled Foundation for integrating into educational materials.
October 5, 2010
This is one in a series of 4 final reflection reports! They are written by the on site coordinator who ran the screen and managed the overall programs.
The FIFA World Cup 2010 will always be a memorable event for many children of Rubavu district formerly known as Gisenyi in the North West of Rwanda. They watched three quarters of the matches live on a giant inflatable screen courtesy of UNICEF NY and One UN Rwanda.
The majority of children (70%) had not access to any other means of watching the World Cup matches. But there is a good number of others who simply enjoyed the atmosphere of watching the matches and the other video messages that were being screened.
The local authorities were very supportive and since this location was near the Congo it meant that security was the most important issue on the staff’s mind.
The local community host VJN was very well suited for the challenge. They had facilities, motivation and passion to entertain the audience between and before the matches. The audience enjoyed dances and contemporary music performances and this added to the entertainment and educational value of the whole occasion. This could have been even better if there was a way of involving national music and comedy stars to perform and pass on the messages live.
Football remains the most popular game here and anything to do with it is sure to draw huge crowds especially of the young. And they are very aware of football news that all international, regional and national tournaments are followed closely. For example the European tournaments that are currently beginning are already generating much excitement with the youth.
Rwanda is such a small country and communication is very efficient. The national radio covers the whole little country. What is said or communicated on radio is heard by the entire population. The young journalist trainees’ recordings should find their way on national radio and use this as way of the youth engaging fellow youth and even their leaders. The training is a fantastic idea that should be encouraged and made sustainable by advocating for the children to voice/air their views on the national radio since it is the one in which everyone Rwandan has confidence and trust.
Videos are always popular with the youth and all messages will be readily consumed if well packaged and in Kinyarwanda and especially if they have a funny angle to them. People, the youth in Rwanda are so starved of laughter that they cling to anything remotely funny in a video. And for that matter, live stand-up comedy can definitely be used for messaging.
A lot can be done in terms of getting the people’s attention so long it is well organized and information based. There is always a huge number of curious onlookers who are bored especially in late afternoons when they are free and have finished work on their land. The total absence of any entertainment in the rural areas guarantees a good audience of both young and old in the rural areas especially if it is based around an inflatable screen and a loudspeaker. People are known to immensely enjoy Western made movies so long as they are dubbed over in Kinyarwanda. The young men who do the dubbing hardly understand English themselves. So they fabricate stories around these movies just to entertain the masses. This is a booming business. They are called “the explained’ movies.
The next World Cup feels distant to most Rwandan kids. But this is only because they know they have enough football in between. There is the CAN, UEFA, the British, Spanish, Italian and other Italian leagues. However all these are only accessible to those young people leaving in townships where there is electricity and satellite tv. On the whole about 1% of the Rwandan population have access to a television set and about 10% have access to electricity.
So a huge number of young people can still benefit from entertainment and education if they are reached.
July 8, 2010
Society Empowerment Project & Kampala 2 Cape Town (World Cup in my Village) Present:
Female Empowerment Through Football
I would like to introduce you to the Female Empowerment Through Football program that SEP is launching at the end of the first soccer world cup in Africa. Society Empowerment Project in conjunction with Kampala 2 Cape Town has partnered to build a network of youth soccer leagues across the African continent and beyond.
The world cup viewing screen was donated to SEP because we believe that SEP has a strong team of committed youth that believe in the power of football as an inspirational tool for sustainable grassroots development in Africa. The screen has been given to you so that you can use it after the world cup to grow and build upon this project.
We believe that the girls of Oyugis are very powerful and strong forces in this community and therefore decided to name our specific site in Kenya: Kampala 2 Cape Town Kenya: FEMALE EMPOWERMENT THROUGH FOOTBALL.
The idea behind this project is for you to become leaders in your own community to inspire girls to use football as a tool for facing the challenges experienced by women in this community, by forming clubs where girls fell free to speak their minds openly and freely and are comfortable seeking advice from one another.
Young women, you are the future leaders of Kenya. Your talent in football and team building has trained you in the necessary skills and strength in character to strengthen this community and your country at large. By inspiring young girls you not only share your leadership skills, but you inspire talent which can be used to strengthen the girls program and promote international recognition. The network that has been built by Kampala 2 Cape town throughout the world cup will be used to build international recognition of this project, which will allow for more outside resources to be brought in for the community, for economic and sustainable development. But, it is up to you girls to make this happen.
When I return to America I look forward to continually collaborating with SEP and Festus, Maurice, Dismus and Edwin. I want to hear stories of female leadership, ones that can be shared for generation of women in Africa to come, to strengthen this continent and allow for the world to see what I discovered long ago, Africa as the future; the future for peace, humanity and environmental sustainability.
I have spent three years working all over Africa and if I have learned anything it is that the power of Africa is in your hands, not only as women but as youth. Young boys, your parents and teachers can be inspired to recognize the power of girls and women at large in Oyugis…Kenya…Africa and in the world.
Thank you for sharing your time with me. My time in Oyugis has further allowed me to see the natural beauty and love in Kenya and I look forward to visiting again and seeing you all as the leading women of Africa.
I will truly miss you all.
Ero Kamano.,..Oriti for now…
Aliza (Akinyi) Waxman
July 4, 2010
Today, I met with SEP’s local trainers and soccer coaches to discuss the official launch of the female empowerment program. The director and I had recruited an official life skills trainer from Kisumu to visit us on Saturday morning to discuss a potential partnership for training the girls.
After we waited for an hour of him not showing, we decided to have a brainstorming session amongst ourselves about how to create this program. We called in one of the local girls, the captain of the girl’s soccer team and sat for a couple hours as we discussed many of the issues facing girls in the Oyugis community and ways to empower them to be leaders for change. Some of the issues we came up with were: teenage pregnancy, parental neglect, prostitution resulting from poverty, and most significantly lack of knowledge of their rights as women and young girls.
We decided we will hold a girls soccer tournament, life skills introduction and final world cup game celebration party on July 11th, as a closing to the world cup, but more important an introduction to the future of female empowerment through football in Kenya.
June 30, 2010
Kampala 2 Cape Town Kenya has succeeded in hosting 600 viewers at a number of the viewings. They had particularly large crowds for the Ghana and Brazil games.
The project has now incorporated a half-time show, where the Society Empowerment Team discusses why the screen has been placed there; the greater K2CT network that is being built across Africa in partnership with the United States and international community. SEP has introduced the Female Empowerment Through Football component through introducing life skills and HIV/AIDS education. The project will focus on reducing stigma associated with HIV/AIDS and methods for using football to empower girls and prevent the spread of the virus.
The viewers have responded positively to the project and Moving The Goal Posts from Kilifi has provided us with training materials for SEP’s girls life skills program.
June 29, 2010
Last Thursday I headed to Kisumu to begin my world cup road show in Kenya. On Friday the director of Society Empowerment Project and I turned in a funding proposal for Kampala 2 Cape Town’s Female Empowerment Through Football program. The Rockefeller Foundation in partnership with the US Department of State put out a call for concept papers for the Empowerment of Women and Girls. The award is part of the State Department’s continuing emphasis on public-private partnerships, and is administered by its office of Global Women’s Issues.
Our Concept is to use female empowerment in Oyugis, through life skills education as part of after-school sports programs. Young girls are highly vulnerable in our community. They lack equal opportunity to education, limited access to sources of income; they perform child labor and are being raised in a polygamous society. Teenage pregnancy is also highly prevalent. And girls are vulnerable to HIV/AIDS as a result of their situation. By involving young girls in football, they attain a better realization of their rights. Specifically, in terms of gender equity. SEP’s agricultural program provides an avenue to food production and income generation, thus reducing dependency and increasing food rations. By providing educational support, the girls are empowered to become more self-reliant. This approach fits well with SEP’s already established programs, and with increased financial support, the impact on the community will be tremendous.
Over the weekend the director, Festus and I were interviewed about the project on Kisumu’s Lake Victoria radio show by Richard Oyoo. He asked us to describe aspects of the project and our belief in its sustainability. The interview was conducted in both Swahili and English. Festus and I spoke for an hour and a recording of the interview will hopefully be posted as soon as possible!
Last Sunday morning I headed from Kisumu to Nairobi to begin my world cup road show in Kenya. On Monday morning I took a bus to Mombasa, the coast of Kenya. Our bus was fully packed and I was able to take the last seat in the corner of the back of the bus. Our bus broke down four hours later in rural Makindu, due to problems with the engine. We ended up being stuck for 5 hours in this rural Muslim/ Swahili town. Luckily, the local roadside pub was playing the world cup. I watched as Chile beat Switzerland! Kampala 2 Cape Town Oyugis reported as having had 600 viewers that night! Many African teams were playing this past week, which increased our number of viewers. After the game, the whole bus sat on the side of the road under a paraffin lamp, eating maize, chewing Mirra and bonding. We spoke a lot about the project and development work in Kenya; a few of the locals expressed their belief that sustainable development can only come from within Kenya. They expressed great interest in having the project expand across Kenya as well as visiting the site over the next few weeks!
I woke up the next morning and took a Matatu from Mombasa to Kilifi town to visit Moving The Goal Posts, the other site in Kenya that received an open air cinema screen donated for the World Cup. A team from the BBC, sponsored by Google from the UK, was running this project called “Field of Dreams,” where they were holding 3 day training sessions training students in Kilifi in computer technology, their program is also focusing on empowering girls through soccer and education. In the evenings they would move the screen to a new venue in the most interior rural areas of Kilifi town. They have had over 500 people at their screenings.
Yesterday I journeyed all the way back to Oyugis. I came back in the early evening and was able to catch the last game in Oyugis Town Brazil beat Chile 3-0. …more to come from our Oyugis site!
June 27, 2010
In Rwanda, Kenya, Uganda and Zambia kids who otherwise would not have experienced the first World Cup in Africa are getting the experience on large open air cinema screens…and now its all happening simultaneously…
In Zambia – Kick Off at Lumulunga Primary School in Mongu
We were at the school at 4.30pm to start setting up. Sports in Action guys came with balls with which they engaged the kids in play with. Both boys and girls played the ball on the same ground and it was amazing to see the crowd of kids run from one goal post to the other and back again as they chased the ball. They even had two goal keepers as there were around 50 kids playing at the same time. At 6.30 when it got dark, we started screening “Sugar” a movie with HIV messages. It was a crowd puller.
The game between Ghana and Germany started at 8.30pm and went on up to 10.15pm. The whole time the game played there was silence apart from when there were attempts on goal or when there was a goal scored. The crowd was really carried away by the game. After the game, the crowd wanted more and we had to shut down everything for them to leave. They also wanted us to go back to the same venue the next day, but we informed them that we have a program we were following and so the next day we would be in Mandanga basic school.
The place was fully packed with kids and adults, the estimated number I can say is 1200 people with 60% of them being kids. The school had informed the kids of the activity the previous day and had invited them to come with their parents. The kids arrived earlier than the adults so they had the privilege of having the front area or front “seats”. Most of them sat down on the sand and you could tell they were having a great time. The coca cola advert (the one with the kid looking for freedom) was their favourite and they sang along to
the advert song every time it played.
Between World Cup matches we mobilized a massive crowd to go around Kyebando and clean up all the plastic and trash that is everywhere. We had over 150 people including students, community workers, local politicians, street kids, youth elders… everyone. We gathered 30 rice sacks of trash. Things don’t always go according to plan in Africa, but this was such a sucess. When trying to talk to people about plastic it often feels like they don’t see the big deal, but today with a united force we did an amazing amount of work to clean but even more to raise consciousness. We named the street the center is on, put in signs that say litter free zone, imagine a better future.
The plastic World Cup balls continue to be made in Uganda….
Crowds continue to swell in Gisenyi Rwanda, with kids huddling on the grass to fight off evening chills to enjoy the matches. UNICEF led a video production training for 15 young people and over their 5 day training each produced a one minute video.
Update from Kenya soon!