A Month of Learning & Exchange at Soccer Without Borders Uganda
October 2019 was a busy month at Soccer Without Borders, full of opportunities for learning and exchange for our team of coach-mentors and youth assistant coaches alike. While our regular day-to-day education courses and football program continued at our Youth Center in Kampala, several SWB staff and youth leaders represented our organization at a range of workshops from the second Women Take the Lead Workshop, to our internal refresher coaching courses supported by AFDP Global, and even an exchange supported by our partners at Common Goal.
Women Take the Lead Workshop (October 7-11)
SWB collaborated with women and girls across the country to grow the game of football for
ourselves, our peers, and our communities. Along with Streetfootballworld, the German Federal Foreign Office, and former professional players-turned-coaches Petra Landers and Magidah Nantanda, SWB hosted the second annual Women Take the Lead conference at Lake Bunyonyi in Kabale, Uganda. Building upon the success of last year's workshops, the SWB team increased the number of female coaches and organizations participating in 2019 bringing together 40 young women and 9 organizations from Kampala, Wakiso, Busia, Kabale, Hoima, and Arua.
Throughout the week coaches took part in both on and off field workshops focused on
inclusive coaching, restorative practices, eliminating barriers to participation in sport, soccer skill development, and more! Now, as coaches return home, each will integrate these concepts into their sessions with local teams reaching an estimated 500 additional youth. The project will culminate with five one-day football galas that incorporate specific rules regarding fair play and gender inclusion. To learn more about the workshop series, check out this reflection from Women’s Sports Corps Fellow and SWB Coach, Lauren Zarefoss.
Refresher Course: Trauma-Informed Coaching (October 16-17)
Earlier this year, we had the opportunity to bring together coaches and coordinators from SWB Oakland, SWB Boston, and SWB Uganda for a week of professional development with the support of our partner AFDP Global. Through this week-long event, our staff engaged in conversations focused on the unique challenges youth in our program are working to overcome and ways that we as coaches and programs could best support youth. Our trainings covered each of SWB’s 4 Coaching Lenses: Sport & Health, Access & Inclusion, Trauma-Informed, and Youth Development.
In an effort to continue to build our understanding of these topics, Program Coordinators Jeremiah, Mina, and Jules co-facilitated a refresher course focused specifically on the Trauma-Informed lens for our coaches and community partners. The sessions focused on the importance of normalizing circles in our work including running two mock scenarios utilizing restorative circles to repair relationships between student-athletes. As our year continues we look forward to deepening our understanding of the physical, emotional, and social impact that trauma can have on young people and best practices for ensuring our youth feel supported and valued at SWB.
Common Goal Exchange (October 17-22)
Our most recent opportunity for collaboration and exchange with other soccer-for-good organizations in the region came through an exchange of program leaders facilitated by Common Goal and hosted by Iringa Development of Youth, Disabled and Children Care (IDYDC) in Iringa, Tanzania. Program Coordinator, Mina Kabanyana served as SWB’s representative at the event which brought together sport-based youth development practitioners from across East Africa.
Upon arrival at IDYDC, Mina and representatives from Tackle Africa and Moving the Goalposts (MTG) joined conversations focused on common practices at our respective organizations, including SWB’s staff training model, and based on our 4 lenses of inclusive coaching, Tackle Africa’s ability to incorporate sexual health messages into on-field drills, MTG’s expertise in recruiting girls into their program, and IDYDC’s strategies for engaging youth, women, and those with disabilities in their work. While the goal was to exchange best practices and bring them into our own teams, organization representatives also served as workshop facilitators, leading sessions with community coaches in Iringa and providing feedback in real time.