We have some fun news from our IMPACT programme in Uganda, where eleven year old Bridget Kansiime picked up a pair of football boots as part of her team’s tournament win!
Bridget plays for a TackleAfrica side at Sharp Infant Primary School, in Kamwokya, Kampala, Uganda’s bustling capital city. The area is not far from the wealthy gated residences of Kampala’s elite, however Kamwokya’s residents face certain challenges, with areas of densely packed slum leading to problems of construction, drainage and sanitation. TackleAfrica coaches, including our own Uganda Project Officer Pius Kadapao, have hailed from there, and continue to work there, providing free HIV and sexual health education through football, and links to sexual health services for Kamwokya’s youth.
Bridget has been one of those young people attending our programme, and told us what the sessions have meant to her, especially as a girl in a predominantly boys sport. “TackleAfrica is a very nice organisation and helps children like me learn football and about HIV. During the sessions, coach Pius tells us that we shouldn’t laugh at our friends if they make mistakes. Instead, help them do it better. Girls should join these sessions through TackleAfrica. They will learn how to play football even if they are girls! They should not think football is only for boys.”
Pius added a few words on how TackleAfrica’s drills engage young players: “As a coach, I know what it’s like to try and win the hearts of kids. You need to make sessions more fun and enjoyable. Players like Bridget and her peers will definitely adapt to your coaching and will always be craving for more time to spend out at the pitch. You can easily see that in their eyes, the words they tell you, the fun they have and the efforts they put in during sessions. Bridget played tirelessly making sure Sharp Infants secured the Tournament Trophy that day, and with her friends, they have improved their confidence on the ball and when they respond during the Question and Answer HIV/AIDS debriefs. The team chose Bridget as Captain of the day, and she made sure that everything was in line both on and off the pitch like fair play, collecting bibs, cheering on the boys etc. My hope is that Bridget sticks to the game and makes the Uganda national team one day.”
From what we’ve seen and heard, we think that’s not a bad bet! Watch this space…
If you’d like to know more about how we use football to reach young people with HIV and sexual health education, don’t hesitate to get in touch by emailing or visit our page www.tackleafrica.org/get-involved