“They were my role models, I wanted to become like them, they were the gateway to my life path of sport for social impact. Sport kept me from becoming involved with drugs, alcohol and crime, it gave me a vision towards a better future…”
These words from David Mulo about the people in his life who shared with him at a young age the importance of sports reveal the fragility of life as an impoverished child in Kenya.
“The difficulties faced by youth in developing countries are magnified due to limited access to education, unstable social and economic environments, and poor sanitation and healthcare,” says Mulo. “In the slums, youth are faced with the addition of crime, drug abuse, and prostitution. Whole families live in corrugated iron, one-room shacks, very few with electricity. Up to 20 families might share a communal water tap and toilet latrine. Living every day in such circumstances can lead to behaviors that compromise health and safety and often lead to early marriage, unplanned pregnancy, criminal activities, and abandoned education.”
These words also reveal, however, the determined passion that drove Mulo to found Green-Kenya , an organization that uses sports as a way to provide awareness opportunities about social issues, including environmental conservation, to students, teachers, and the greater community in Nairobi.
“Our Community Impact Program presents the only opportunity for many impoverished children to participate in organized sport…Sport creates an environment that unites people across gender, race, religion, and socioeconomic backgrounds. It is an educational tool which fosters cognitive development; teaches social behavior; and helps to integrate communities. Sport has the power to transform lives.”
Based on the Coaches Across Continents model of development through sport, Green-Kenya’s coaches are assigned to a group of 50 to 100 students and follow a predetermined curriculum, where one social issue is the focus of every month. The groups meet weekly for a one-hour session.
TPP awarded Mulo a grant for his program in 2017, which allowed them to train four more coaches and to purchase equipment needed for one additional school. The results have been astounding: in just a few short years, their existing programs have expanded, allowing them to reach 4,363 children aged 7 – 14 years. They’ve also conducted 170 “Sports for Social Impact” sessions; 1,260 children from 10 different primary schools have participated in their Kick and Conserve Tournaments; and 160 local participants have been trained to be coaches.
Mulo is not one to rest on his laurels, however. He is very ambitious for the program’s future, working toward adding 4 primary schools (500 students) and 4 community centers (100 students) to the program. He also wishes to identify 20 youth, currently in the school program, who demonstrate leadership qualities and show passion towards social and personal development and invite them to participate in a Youth Leadership Training. They’ll be trained on leadership, good governance, and how collaboration can bring about a positive change in communities.
For Mulo, sport is not just about keeping kids off the streets—it nurtures the very qualities needed for a happy, successful life. “Social development is about improving the well-being of every individual enabling them to reach their full potential. Barriers need to be removed so that all citizens can journey toward self-sufficiency with confidence and dignity. It is about refusing to accept that people who live in poverty will always be poor. Everyone deserves the opportunity to develop their skills and contribute to their families and communities. If individuals do well, then society as a whole will benefit.”
To learn more about Mulo and the Green-Kenya organization, visit:
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