We managed to organize two friendly games between Panyadoli Self Help Secondary School and the Danish Refugee Council team, one on May 18 and the other on June 15. Friendly matches with other teams improved the players’ skills and knowledge and helped them to understand and work on their areas of weakness. These games ended in favor of our team after a win of 2-1 and a 1-1 tie, respectively. Great thanks goes to our committed coaches and players for exhibiting such talent in soccer and sports in general.
The teams conducted daily trainings in the 4 community fields in Arnold, St. Bakhita, Magamaga, and Cluster K. The fields have aided the daily activity trainings, furthering the success of the project as a whole. The daily trainings imparted both practical and theoretical soccer skills in the players, and the mentorship element of the program instills them with peacebuilding ideas. Counseling is also conducted for players with mental illness or trauma due to domestic violence.
We were able to organize games as part of the celebration marking World Refugee Day. These games took place at Kiryandongo Refugee Settlement, and a number of implementing partners participated, such as the Danish Refugee Council (DRC), Windle Trust International (WTI), and Whitaker Peace & Development Initiative (WPDI), among others, which made the day amazing for both active participants and those cheering the players on from the sidelines.
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.