Sports for Peace and Development.

Sports for Peace and Development for Comprehensive Child and Youth Development

SOPA implements Sports for Peace and Development programs to educate and positively engage children, young adolescents and youth in schools and communities through use of values-based sports designed to empower, build skills and trigger behavioral change with focus on Enhancing Education Quality (Ages 2-14); Transforming Health Practices (Ages 6-18); and Peace Building (Ages 10-18).

We have a model for behavior change that helps us to understand why individuals behave the way they do, what makes individuals unique and how individuals change.

Recognizing how critical ‘the important other’ is in the life of the children, we have built our sports for development programs around supportive staff and community volunteers (coaches) and teachers (facilitators- sports and agriculture). Staff, Coaches, facilitators and other community members create environments that allow children to create positive inner conversations and to have positive experiences. With specialized training from SOPA, they: Create and maintain supportive environments; Provide regular sport and play activities; Foster essential life skills; Promote healthy attitudes; and Provide knowledge.

 

New staff, volunteers, coaches and teachers in the program are trained in Child protection prior to working with children and MUST sign the Code of Conduct which includes the Child Protection Policy. This is to ensure the safe guarding and well-being of all children and youth in SOPA programs.

In our three pillars, we aspire to achieve strong outcomes such as:

 

  • Enhancing Education Quality
  • Improved academic achievement (grade retention and school completion where appropriate)
  • Improved school readiness
  • Improved teaching methodologies
  • Improved attendance
  • Positive associations with school
  • Transforming Health Practices.
  • Improved healthy behaviors and healthy practices related to mental health, hygiene and sanitation, sexual and reproductive health, HIV and AIDS, malaria, drug/substance use and abuse.
  • Increased knowledge and beliefs toward prevention and treatment
  • Peace Building:
  • Increase in non-violent resolutions to conflict
  • Positive attitudes toward divergent groups
  • Strengthened non-violent attitudes
  • Improved conflict resolution skills

In order to achieve behavior change, we use experiential approach to learning for children and youth, facilitating the “Experience” and “Inner Conversation” as part of our behavior change model. We also promote positive child and youth development with all spheres of influence in a child’s life, including the broader community, government, and society. By engaging with these spheres of influence, SOPA actively creates an environment that provides the opportunity for children and youth to behave differently. At the same time, behavior changes in the child also shapes the spheres of influence. This creates a two-way dynamic process of change. It’s in this movement that we see the impact of individual change on a collective change process that brings about normative shift in society. Positive Child and Youth programming is the foundation for all activities and we develop life skills appropriate to the age group. We incorporate adapted sports for disability mainstreaming and observe principles of gender equality, inclusion, child protection and community engagement in all our program areas.

Our current programs are in Siaya  and Cross border regions of Kenya (Turkana Region), Northern Uganda (Karamoja region) and South Sudan (the greater Kapoeta region). With more funding, SOPA aspires to expand to other counties in Kenya and African regions to empower children and youth from disadvantaged communities.

 

Previous projects
In 2013-2015, SOPA conducted structured sports and play activities in eight (8) primary schools in
Kenya’s Siaya County through trained teachers. They included Obambo, Ndayi, Kalenjuok,
Kanyaboli, Nyalula, Urim, Kochieng and Kubar. The target was 150 children per school, boys and
girls from age group 6-14 years. It also included a basketball for development program at Boro
market aimed to engage and educate youth (age 15–20) on various issues affecting them such as:
drug use and abuse; prevention of HIV; early teenage pregnancies prevention; importance of
education/encouraging school attendance; and positive youth development. The targets were
young boys and girls who spend their leisure time delinquently at the clubs and discos at the local
market.

SOPA hosted The Kenya Sports for Development Partnership (KSDP) to conduct thematic sports
festival in Siaya at the Benjamin Limo Sports Complex in Lake Kanyaboli under thematic group of
health and education. The theme of the festival was Healthy Living. The sports festival targeted youth
coaches and children in Siaya from primary schools and youth coaches previously trained under
Comprehensive Behavior Change and Comprehensive Child and Youth Development.
The event was attended by children’s coaches from the partner organizations ASTEP, ANGAZA,
GESAO, HWAY, Mikadini and VAP. They were hosted by families in the local community. 9
Schools in Siaya participated in the festival with 16 teacher coaches from the schools, two interns
from ISOP Netherlands and SOPA staff. The target topics were Water, Sanitation and Health
(WASH), Drugs and Substance Use and Abuse, Adolescence Sexual Reproductive Health, (ASRH).
At the end of the event, there was a reported increase in knowledge and skills among participating
children, coaches, teachers, community volunteers and staff of Partner Organizations on sports for
development and healthy living.
With the financial and technical support from Right To Play (RTP), SOPA implemented Education
for children in conflict affected settings program from March 2013 – Feb 2015 in Kenya (Turkana
Region), Northern Uganda (Karamoja region) and South Sudan (the greater Kapoeta region)
through sport and play as convening agents and tools through which positive child development
takes place. The program used a methodology based on Action-oriented learning using sport and
play based activities that have physical, cognitive, social and emotional development through
experiential learning that results to active, reflective, collaborative, successive and applied positive
life skills.