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Empowering Girls Through Sport (Soccer Without Borders)

SWB integrates on an off-field programming to meet the needs of refugee youth in Kampala, Uganda.

Photo of Katy Nagy
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EXPLAIN YOUR IDEA

One of the greatest barriers to success for refugees in Kampala is lack of access to education. SWB Uganda's approach is non-traditional, using soccer as a hook and taking a whole person approach to their development: mind, body, and voice. While we offer classroom English lessons and educational workshops on a daily basis, we also utilize on-field time to teach life skills. At SWB, urban refugee youth find a safe space to grow and learn. The five key activities that SWB implements are: Soccer Play and Instruction, Off-Field Education, Team-Building Games, Cultural Exchange, and Civic Engagement. Daily programming includes English class, life skills class, and football training. In addition, we hold a weekly girls program that integrates each of these activities with a focus on specific challenges and issues that are relevant to girls in the community. This girls program is the focal point of our idea. With additional support, this program can be expanded to meet the specific needs that refugee girls face in Kampala. Development of on and off-field curricula as well as additional program hours dedicated to girls will deeply impact the lives of girls in our SWB program.

WHO BENEFITS?

This project will focus on refugee girls between the age of 5 and 18 years old. SWB serves urban refugee boys and girls between the ages of 5 and 18 who live in three of Kampala’s most impoverished neighborhoods: Nsambya, Katwe, and Kirombe. The majority of our participants are unable to afford school fees, and without SWB programming, they would have no space for positive and educational engagement with their peers and community.

PROTOTYPE

SWB Uganda's Girls Empowerment Program began in February 2014 and has been implemented one day per week since then. During that program, girls discuss topics relevant to challenges that they face in the community and participate in a variety of different activities, including counseling, football, modeling, arts and crafts, etc. In the past month, expansion of this program has been tested in implementing a counseling unit. For two months, girls who are older than 14 years old learned how to counsel refugees who are experiencing challenges in a new community. For one week, Girls Empowerment programming was held for 3 days per week to test additional hours of programming. Incorporated in the training was learning about all services available to refugees in Kampala. The girls then practiced counseling community members on issues that they experience, using the information that they learned in the classroom to advise individuals. The curriculum for this unit was designed by our local female coach using resources such as the Goal Activity Guide, interviews with participants and their families and community members, and observations made in the community. Participation in the program and investment in the program culture was very strong. It has been clear that to expand our girls programming, we need additional support in developing on and off-field curricula and support for staff to increase hours of programming.

FEEDBACK

After implementing our prototype, community members, families of participants, and partners such as YARID (Young African Refugees for Integral Development) have strongly welcomed the idea of expanding our Girls Empowerment Program. Though the girls are relatively young, their ability to offer advice and actively give back to their community has been positive in development of their confidence and leadership skills. One idea that our community has contributed to this concept is the need for vocational training in our program. Vocational training and skills necessary to succeed in the workplace are essential elements in designing our on and off-field curricula. Since our program began, we have actively involved the community in discussions around programming and the best ways for SWB to support the youth we serve. It was through this communication that we recognized a need to begin formal English classes for youth and adults in 2012, integrating English curriculum with the life skills and football curriculum. Also, SWB is part of streetfootballworld, a global network of organizations that use football for social change. Through participation in this network, we have been able to learn best practices in implementing football programs that teach life skills and serve as a tool for cultural exchange.

HOW IS THIS IDEA DIFFERENT FROM WHAT YOUR ORGANIZATION (OR OTHER ORGANIZATIONS) IS ALREADY DOING?

There are no other football programs designed specifically to address the needs of refugee girls in Kampala. Using our whole person approach, we are able to combine on-field play with off-field workshops. We have the potential to support girls to develop their minds, bodies, and voices while providing skills necessary for success in a new environment. It will offer an opportunity for refugee girls to receive an alternate, holistic education that they would not find elsewhere.

HOW WOULD YOU USE AMPLIFY FUNDING AND DESIGN SUPPORT?

SWB Uganda would use Amplify funding and design support in three areas: 1. Development of on and off-field curricula - Combining resources and research (some of which is already being used) to design curricula that address the needs of refugee girls in Kampala through on-field play and off-field workshops. 2. Girls Program Coordinator - Empower a local female coach to oversee all girls programming and manage relationships with partners connected to the girls program 3. Activity Implementation - Increase the number of hours allocated each week to girls-specific programming. This may include participation in a football league as well as educational field trips throughout Uganda/East Africa.

HOW DOES YOUR IDEA TAKE INTO ACCOUNT THE CONTEXT OF THE CHALLENGE?

A significant number of refugee youth do not have access to formal education. Our program focuses on a way to immediately tackle that issue by providing alternative, non-formal education. In particular, this idea addresses additional inequality and barriers that girls face by offering free, consistent programming. Using our existing girls program as a prototype allows us to envision an expansion that is manageable and resourceful. Because of our understanding of uncertainty in the lives of refugees, our programs are designed to provide immediately relevant skills. For example, our youth immediately enter English class, allowing them to communicate in their new community.

ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS FROM THE AMPLIFY TEAM

Thank you for your questions! To respond: 1. Our program originally developed in response to a need in the community. From the start, girls were included in all aspects of programming. However, there was (and remains in many cases) cultural resistance to girls playing sports. This requires many conversations with community members and family members of participants about the many benefits of sports for girls. The growth of the girls program and the birth of our Girls Empowerment Program resulted for two reasons: 1) The number of girls participating in the program grew tremendously from 2012-2014; 2) Program leadership recognized a responsibility to provide additional programming to girls who experience significant challenges and barriers to success. Life Skills classes are planned and delivered by local staff and volunteers. For Girls Empowerment Program, workshops are led by a female staff member. We provide a certificate of completion for English classes each term, but do not currently have a certificate for Life Skills. 2. SWB Uganda currently serves 350 core participants (attend 3-6 days per week). We serve an additional 425 youth per year in special events such as our annual Kampala Youth Festival. Of those participants, 43% are girls. There are 65 regular participants in the Girls Empowerment Program. Our program is at our maximum capacity, given our current funding and space, and has been for the past 3 years. From 2012-2015, the number of girls in our program has increased by more than 300%. We have edited the content of this idea to more clearly outline the way in which Amplify support would allow for expansion of the girls program. 3. If given additional funding, Girls Empowerment Programming would be offered 3-4 times per week. It would expand to collaborate with local organizations for vocational training, leadership workshops, football league play, and educational/team-building trips. A major priority in this plan is empowering local female coaches to run this program. This will include professional development support as well as funding to hire additional female staff members.

SKILL SHARE (optional)

As an organization, we can now offer guidance in implementing football programs with a focus on youth development. Each of our coaches have been trained in coaching for youth development by our partner and expert in the field, Coaches Across Continents. As we continue to grow, we are seeking help in expanding our girls program and establishing greater financial sustainability.

TELL US A BIT ABOUT YOURSELF

This program is implemented by Soccer Without Borders in Kampala, Uganda.

IS THIS AN IDEA THAT YOU OR YOUR ORGANIZATION WOULD LIKE TO TAKE FORWARD?

  • Yes, I have implementation capacity and am interested in and able to make this idea real in my community.

23 comments

Join the conversation:

Comment
Spam
Photo of Sacha R
Team

I love your project Katy and the way you combine play with programming. Thank you for sharing it with us on this platform!

Do you know about Reclaim Childhood, which seeks to empower refugee women and girls through sport in Jordan? http://www.reclaimchildhood.org/ If not, just wanted to make you aware of them as it's often productive to connect and share with others working on similar projects in different contexts.

Good luck and keep up the great work!

Spam
Photo of Simuka Rafeal
Team

Really unbelievable, is not as easy as you can see, the posts difficulty and challenge waiting for you and that's the main difficulties that make us interesting.
http://www.friv2games.org.uk/
http://www.yepi12.org
http://www.kizigamesonline.name
http://www.85play-games.com

Spam
Photo of Rahul Savani
Team

hello
after reading the case and the idea you have shared to the world in providing an innovation in changing the way people think and see. informal education empowers, motivates in better way then formal one since informal friendship is deeper rooted then the one we share in formal learning etc. its a good idea to change and bring in people across borders to play and learn and spread the learning awareness across both borders.
its a great thinking for a positive impact and change of people. it kinda helps people learn and develop the youth people of the countries in creating a brighter future.
congratulations for the idea.

Spam
Photo of Devon Schechinger
Team

This program is very similar to the US based non-profit organization, Girls on the Run; a positive youth development program for girls aged 8-14 years old. I had the pleasure of working for this organization in Chicago and now in San Francisco. One element that we recently added to our program, and which received outstanding feedback, was to have each girl document what they have learned in a journal. Including time at the end of each lesson/ practice/ meeting to allow the girls to write down their experiences, thoughts, concerns, etc. not only reaffirms what they have learned, but provides the girls with another chance to practice literacy and reading/comprehension skills.

Keep up the fantastic work!

Spam
Photo of Alexander Cheung
Team

Love how holistic the educational experience can be, with soccer at the forefront. Reminds me of this organization featured on this Turning Point episode on BYUTV: http://www.byutv.org/watch/e05d3f4b-01f6-402c-a95b-d3dcfc3e3fbd/turning-point-street-soccer. In the future, with the football league idea, your students will be able to learn teamwork in a longer-term, more deeply collaborative way, as their teams will stay relatively stable. Best of luck on the journey ahead!

Spam
Photo of Elizabeth Gannon
Team

What an exciting idea. I would be interested in hearing how you intend to develop the informal education. It would appear that there is a very strong need for education in this community. I hope that your project begins to fulfill this most basic need for the girls.

Spam
Photo of Kubana Alexis
Team

Great Idea indeed most especially for the young girls.

Spam
Photo of Katy Nagy
Team

Thank you so much Alex.

Spam
Photo of Rodrigue
Team

I have been at Soccer Without Boarders many times and seen your field work guys, this is a great opportunity for the young ones, especially those ones who do not have access to formal Education, thanks a lot for this empowerment and innovation. keep it up

Spam
Photo of robert hakiza
Team

Congratulations SWB for making it to the top ideas!

Spam
Photo of Katy Nagy
Team

Thanks Robert you too.

Spam
Photo of Richard Zulu
Team

Hi Katy, Thanks for your contribution and participation in refinement. I just wanted to add some final thoughts to the Amplify team contribution. I too believe you should think more regarding the new approaches that you would integrate into the current Girl Empowerment program.

Spam
Photo of Katy Nagy
Team

Thank you for your comment, Richard! We feel that our Girls Empowerment Program has tremendous potential to expand in impact and services provided. We are passionate about using football as a vehicle for youth development and social inclusion, and we are confident that combining this with off-field workshops and activities provides an effective alternative to formal education. We are looking forward to collaborating with our partners and individuals/organizations with similar goals in order to build a sustainable, impactful program for refugee girls in Kampala. We will continue to consider new approaches and are certainly open to any suggestions that the Amplify team or any contributors in this challenge may have!

Spam
Photo of AMPLIFY Team
Team

Hi Katy,

As you know we've had a few experts take review your idea. Below are comments from 2 of our experts. If you could please spend some time addressing the questions that would be great!

"hi there, thanks for participating and well done on your important work through sport. / I have a couple of questions regarding the focus of the additional support for girls. Is it demand driven or are SWB actively sensitizing the community to the need and benefit of sport to girls welfare and development? Do the life-skills classes have particular objectives and/or certification of completion? Who designs and delivers these life-skills trainings? / Many thanks! "

" The description seems to indicate that it has been successful in establishing itself in Uganda. But aside from a description of staffing (noting refugee representation), there is no data about past and current youth served, growth over time, or other measures of performance and success. Also, the description does not explain why Amplify support is needed and how this support would improve or grow the program. If you could please provide those details that would be great! "

"What new approaches would you attempt to integrate into your current programs if given additional funding? / / "

Thanks!

The Amplify Team

Spam
Photo of OpenIDEO
Team

Congrats on making it to the Refinement Phase Katy! We would love it if you can take some time to answer the new Refinement questions that we've added to your original idea submission form. To answer the new questions, hit the Edit Contribution button at the top of your post. Scroll down to the entry fields of the new Refinement questions. Hit Save when you are done editing.

Also, here's a useful tip: When you update the content of your post, it'd be helpful to indicate this in your idea title by adding an extension. For example, you can add the extension " - Update: Experience Maps 5/11" to you idea title. This will be a good way to keep people informed about how your idea is progressing!

Spam
Photo of Chioma Ume
Team

Hi Katy, to echo Shane, we'd love to know what new initiative SWOB is proposing as part of this challenge. Is it the girls programming? Or something else? We'd love to get a better sense of what you are hoping to start or have newly started and how you envision your idea could work!

Spam
Photo of Katy Nagy
Team

Hi Chioma. Thanks for your comment! The primary way that we feel our model can be strengthened is through further support and expansion of our girls program. This may be in the form of expanded curriculum, activities, or hours of programming. We'd like to effectively engage girls in our existing programs (English class, Life skills class, football training/games), but also offer a space that is specifically geared towards empowering girls. Currently, we have a workshop each Friday, but we are open to advice and other ways to build this program.

Spam
Photo of Keiko Odashiro
Team

Hi Katy, I love your program. Do you collaborate with other agencies like YARID? How many girls are participating in the program?

Spam
Photo of Katy Nagy
Team

Hi Keiko! Thank you for the comment and the kind words. We do collaborate with other local organizations, such as YARID, Rainbow House of Hope Uganda, and the Kampala Kids League. We now have about 150 girls participating in normal programming.

Spam
Photo of Richard Zulu
Team

Katy, thank you for your contribution. I love that you use play to promote learning and skills building. While reading your contribution, my conclusion was that it came off as a profile about your organisation rather than a new idea you would want to implement within your organisation. I suggest that you clearly articulate what within your organisation you would like to change/experiment with/introduce that is different from what you have been doing.

More to that, I recommend that you add Olivier Matanda as a team member to this idea given that he is with your organisation. I believe he will be interested to work with you on this.

Thanks again for the contribution

Spam
Photo of Katy Nagy
Team

Thank you for the comment, Richard! To clarify, the idea is one that we are already implementing in the way that I described, but that we are hoping to strengthen. The primary way that we feel our model can be strengthened is through further support and expansion of our girls program. This may be in the form of expanded curriculum, activities, or hours of programming. We are open to advice!

Also, I am trying to add Olivier to the team, but I am having trouble figuring out how! We have been communicating about this project but we did not both create a profile to create it.

Thanks again!

Spam
Photo of Elvis Wanume
Team

Hi there, this a good idea

Spam
Photo of Shane Zhao
Team

Katy, thanks for sharing the great work that your team has been doing at SWB! It'd be helpful to learn more about how you might build out the SWB girls program. Are there any lessons learned from the other SWB pilots that might be adapted to the new ventures that SWB is planning to take on? Looking forward to hearing more!