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.
10 players, including both boys and girls, have been offered scholarships by Alliance Integrated Secondary School for their secondary education, while 1 student is on scholarship at Kigumba Intensive Secondary School. In this way, the program is providing an opportunity for talent exhibition.
The program conducted 4 dialogue sessions with players in schools and during school holidays. During dialogue sessions, the members are sensitized about the dangers of conflict, substance abuse, and sexual promiscuity, among others. Unity among team members is encouraged through the dialogue sessions, as well as collaborating in respect and love with parents/caregivers. Participants are gradually realizing the importance of living in harmony in the community.
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 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.
Charity Aya is a 28-year-old young woman who was raised in South Sudan but came to Kiryandongo Refugee Settlement because of the 2013 conflict in South Sudan. She is Kakwa by tribe and currently works as an assistant coach with the Kiryandongo Sports Development Program. Before the program, Charity experienced many hardships because she was new to the settlement, didn’t have a livelihood, and her family was stuck in South Sudan.
As luck would have it, the sports development program began searching for coaches and assistant coaches, an opportunity that Charity jumped at. From the money that she earns, she has managed to retrieve her graduation papers from her university in South Sudan and bring her family to the settlement.
To Charity, the Kiryandongo Sports Development Program is a godsend, and she cannot hide her appreciation towards PeacePlayers International and Real Medicine Foundation for the opportunity and empowering initiative.