The Community Impact Program works with children that, due to unfortunate circumstances, are not afforded the same opportunities as some of their more privileged peers. The areas where we currently focus our programs are in two slums of Nairobi; Mukuru Kwa Njenga and Shauri Moyo with a combined population of 165,000. The 9-month program affords youth trainings on various social issues. Each month a different issue is addressed, including environmental conservation, gender equality, children’s rights, drug & alcohol abuse, financial literacy, sexual health, problem solving, peace & equality, leadership & development, social inclusion, and HIV/Aids. The class starts with a discussion of the topic in the non-traditional school setting of a football pitch. We believe in participatory education, regular exercise, and social development.
The difficulties faced by youth in developing countries are magnified due to limited access to education, unstable social and economical environments and poor sanitation and healthcare. 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 twenty families might share a communal water tap and toilet latrine. Living every day in such circumstances can lead to behaviors that compromise their health and safety and often lead to early marriage, unplanned pregnancy, criminal activities and abandoned education.
Participatory education is a new dynamic for many children; the Kenyan school system does not currently strongly support learning through doing. By exposing the children to open discussion and requesting their input, we are teaching them that their opinions are important. By posing questions on unexplored topics to the youth, we are setting medium to promote our core values of equality, respect, inclusion, health and wellness, and human dignity. 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 skill and contribute to their families and communities. If individuals do well, then society as a whole will benefit.
Our Community Impact Program presents the only opportunity for many impoverished children to participate in organized sport. Studies have shown that regular exercise stimulates brain cell growth and increases the connection between brain cells which improves memory and attention. Exercise in children helps them focus better in school and retain more information. This will also even out moods, improve sleep and build self-confidence. 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. We choose sport as our
The initial seed grant was important to our work because of a number of reasons, for instance, we were able to purchase necessary equipment like cones, soccer balls that allowed us to pass the message to our participants. We were also able to be in our work station – community centres and schools – on time without any delays since we did not have to walk long distance to reach the school. This also improved the quality of the session.
Over the next 12 months, our goal is to include an additional 6 primary schools, increasing the students by 750 and a further 100 children by adding 4 community centers to our program. This would bring our total number of children in our program to 1,200 in 2019. Through our work with community centers and schools we are strengthening the resilience of children and giving them valuable life skills to better help them transition into the leaders of tomorrow. In order to reach this goal, we need to be able to train 24 more community coaches using the Coaches Across Continents curriculum. The funds received from TPP will allow us to train 4 coaches and buy the necessary equipment to set up 1 school. We are extremely grateful and excited to know that we are one step closer to reaching our 2019 goals.
Additional funding would allow us to reach our targets of 24 community coaches, 6 additional schools and 4 new community centres. As an organization we want to advocate to have a model of the Community Impact Program added to the current school curriculum. To strengthen our advocacy efforts, we need to collect more data substantiating the positive impact sport for development has on children. The most efficient and unbiased way for us to obtain this data is to reach more children. We believe sport for social impact should be inclusive for all children and not dependent on athletic abilities or economic situations.