You might wonder what football has to do with development, at first, we did too. It all started with a few boys playing football matches in the grounds around the International Christian Assemblies (ICA) Community Centre, right where the New Community Kibera Project is based.
Football has proved to be a welcome distraction from an otherwise negative culture where crime and unemployment rule.
We heard that the youth football team “Kibera Saints” developed organically and its formation corresponded with an estimated 80% drop in crime in the area.
There’s a 50% unemployment rate in Kibera and high levels of crime. Record levels of theft, robbery, sexual assault and gang-related activities contribute to the Nairobi slums having a reputation of being the most dangerous in Africa. Gang culture becomes an easy pastime for young people with little else to turn to.
Sports clubs offer young people a welcome distraction from gang activity, resulting in fewer robberies, thefts and assaults, and an overall drop in crime.
Kibera Saints has certainly proved that theory. Two young men from the slum decided to coach the boys, from then on things really started to improve. They trained the players; established an under-17s team and set up a barber shop to fund the club. It didn’t stop there - similar youth football teams from other districts in Kibera began to emerge, forming a league where teams could compete and improve their skills.
Inspired by the social benefits of the growing football community, we sent two qualified coaches to train the team leaders.
We expected a small group of football coaches and we were amazed when over 50 turned up!
Our coaches successfully delivered four days of training – teaching drills and training methods as well as discussions on health, nutrition, STIs and social issues like domestic violence.
The newly trained coaches then returned to their teams with new football training methods and the knowledge to teach vital information on health and social issues, enriching young peoples’ personalities and increasing quality of life.
Football now features in some form or other on almost all of the bi-annual trips we've made to Kibera. The various teams have continued to grow and thrive and Kibera Saints (seniors) have continued to be really successful in the local league, and as league champions won promotion to the regional league.
How does football make a difference in Kibera?
Mark Tizodi and Will Mbuvi chat about the impact of coaching on the young people in Kibera.
Questions about life in Kibera from UK's Testwood School's Year 10 Geography Department.