Will Wiseman; a personal perspective
Thank you to all who invested their support into my trip to Kenya, through prayer, training, planning and financially. I could not have gone without your support and I truly believe the programme was a huge success.
Back in mid-August I travelled with a team of 5 to Nairobi, Kenya, to deliver training and development programmes to football coaches, healthcare volunteers and educational workers within the Kibera slum. I worked specifically in Football coaching with one other volunteer, where we delivered training to approximately 45 local coaches daily, each responsible for players ranging from kids football to adult Kenyan clubs. Each coach has a vital influence on his players, spending much of the week developing the players physically, emotionally, mentally and even educationally. To give an example of their responsibilities numerically, two coaches oversee a local club (Kibera Saints) of approximately 120 players. This shows the reach and influence the coaches have on such a vast amount of young people in Kibera slum.
We successfully delivered four packed days of training to the coaches – teaching drills and training methods as well as detailed discussions on Health, First Aid, Nutrition, STIs and social issues like domestic violence, Religious impacts on football, Crime, Poverty and Discrimination. Bear in mind many of these coaches are rivals in similar leagues! Vast football and societal values were created, discussed and agreed, and the coaches left empowered and encouraged to work with each other and their players to impact their communities. The direct impact from working with the coaches is estimated to be around 700-800 people, not to mention each person’s family/community that will be further affected.
Following the football programme, the coaches organised a large football tournament between many teams, to implement the trained skills and knowledge from the programme, but more importantly a culture of family, communal support and social improvement. This was a big step towards independence of the coaches’ communities, through a collective heart of sharing and development.
Equipment was also provided to the coaches and their players, with the help of KitAid and individual donors, providing kit, training equipment, and many other accessories needed by the individuals we were serving. We packed 5 20KG+ suitcases We made sure to covertly distribute this aid, through handing it all over to trusted and well-respected coaches who live on Kibera slum, whom we work closely with, who could then distribute it themselves. This was also carried out by distributing via local clothing businesses, to ensure that our support partners with, not quenches, the local businesses and their economy. This also develops independence in the local area.
The coaches’ feedback and progress since the trip has been tremendous. Surprisingly, their most favoured times of learning were around the topics of “Social issues and First Aid & Health for players”. Coaches are also now receiving more exposure to coaching jobs due to the certificates of completing our programmes, now able to earn an income whilst instilling the values and knowledge learnt. The team in the UK is planning and preparing the trip for next year, and how we can help the coaches gain another step closer to independence and social & economic improvement in their communities.
Kibera is an area of Nairobi, Kenya and is thought to be the largest slum in Africa, as well as one of the largest slums in the world. Population estimates for Kibera vary widely between 170,000 and 1.5 million, depending on the source.
The majority of Kibera’s population live in small, rented mud shacks with corrugated tin roofs. There is very little infrastructure in the area; clean water is sold at an inflated price by private sellers, access to electricity is very limited, and the lack of toilets and sewage systems means that the streets are strewn with human waste, as well as refuse. Medical and educational facilities are also extremely limited, and what is available is generally supplied by charitable organisations.
Poverty is a key issue in Kibera, where there is an unemployment rate of about 50%, and where many of those who are employed are in relatively unskilled, poorly paid jobs. The cost of living in Kibera is relatively expensive (as in other slums). The majority of those in these informal settlements don’t have a steady source of income and many work as casual labourers in the surrounding factories where they earn about 200 Kenyan Shillings (£1.50) per day.
Malnutrition, disease, alcohol and substance abuse, prostitution and violence are also all issues that heavily affect the people of Kibera, largely resulting from the poor living conditions in the region.
The New Community Kibera Project aims to serve the needs of the local people living in Kibera. We do this by supporting health, educational and micro-finance projects that are taking place in the area, and place an emphasis on practical development.
Furthermore, Football has proved to be a welcome distraction from an otherwise negative culture where crime and unemployment rule. For example, “Kibera Saints” recently developed organically and its formation corresponded with an estimated 80% drop in crime in the area.
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.
Importantly, The New Community Kibera Project seeks to foster independence, not dependence, for the people in the area. This is achieved by connecting and developing partnerships between local people and the UK, as well as by enabling them through the sustainable sharing of resources and ideas.