Lots of youth in Northern Uganda face many challenges. They grow up with in an environment with a legacy of years of civil war, have difficulties in finding jobs and structural income, are oftentimes politically excluded. This leads to youth that are caught up in unhealthy behaviors, feeling useless and no sense of belonging at times. The influx of many refugees from South Sudan and in an earlier stage from Kenya puts even more pressure on the environment with a danger of youth ending up in violent behavior or even radicalize. ISA want to stop these dynamics and help youth in finding their sparks, their motivation and a sense of belonging. So that they are able to shape their own future and contribute to a positive change in their communities.
In order to do so, ISA and its partner Footballforgood has come up with a new concept that we are starting to implement in Kiryandongo; an area with a huge refugee settlement and interim stop for other displaced people. A very difficult place for youth to grow up and positively develop. The concept is a combination of sport for development and agri culture; a total of 150 youth from different ethnic backgrounds will participate in structural football practices, matches and tournaments. During the session the focus lies on the interaction between each other, having positive experiences and finding your passion and positive attitude. Combined with this, youth will also be trained in agri skills on how to work on a ‘team-plot’ together with their teammates. On these plots they are guided and supported to cultivate crops and also harvest and eventually sell them.
By doing so, ISA and Footballforgood aim to increase the social interaction and cross cultural understanding of different groups of youth. Furthermore, we aim to provide them with positive experiences and help them to discover there sparks and motivations. The agri component provides an attractive introduction into agriculture and provides the young people with a first experience of actual income and opportunities. Agriculture is one of the main sources of income, but youth are oftentimes not interested or don’t have the right skills to work within agriculture.
Keep following ISA for updates on this project; which has just started. It is ISA’s ambition to extensively monitor this pilot project and transform this eventually in a comprehensive approach in more area’s in Uganda and with more practical work experience, beyond just agriculture.