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NAIROBI, KENYA: Football vs corruption

14/11/2012 by Alan Cole in the UK

Kenyan charity celebrates impact of sport to empower Nairobi youngsters to a brighter future

A small grass-roots charity in Kenya, that uses football to promote positive lifestyles and community values, has held a landmark tournament event battling against corruption...

Vijana Amani Pamoja is a charity using sport to invest in social progress, working predominantly in the slum areas of Nairobi, including the sprawling Eastlands area which houses some of the poorest families in the capital...

The NGO was originally a football club that has since grown into a non-profit charity that now runs development programmes tackling HIV/AIDS and TB, as well as schemes promoting female empowerment, and also anti-corruption initiatives working with young people that are often football focused...

On Saturday the Nairobi-based charity held its first ever Kick-Out Corruption Graduation Community Football Tournament, the conclusion of a youth project which uses the power of football to try to eliminate corruption in Kenyan society.

The charity’s 54 graduates from its programme took to the pitch at the inaugural anti-corruption tournament at Mcedo Primary School in Mathare, Nairobi...

Vijana Amani Pamoja’s anti-corruption programme has been running at the school for the past three months.

Using football-inspired activities, the scheme reaches out to young people aged 11 to 21, raising awareness in fun and participatory ways, about the realities of corruption, with practical advice on how to avoid and overcome such bad choices, which can have terrible consequences...

Vijana Amani Pamoja Executive Director, Enouce Ndeche, says with over 50 young people playing and many others from the local community coming to join in the day’s activities, the tournament was a great success; and one that bodes well for the future of those that took part.

"By using football to demonstrate the reality of corruption, both players and spectators really grasped our anti-corruption message, he says.

"As players were penalised for committing an act of corruption, or stepping on a cone, participants realised that corruption creates losers not winners in society... as these children and adolescents share their newfound knowledge with family and peers, this information will further ripple out into the local community."

The event is an example of how sport is a proven way of engaging young people and helping to provide a platform for many different life-skills...

The 54 graduates, aged between 12 and 16, were divided into nine six-person teams based on individuals’ career ambitions...

Judges, managers, engineers, lawyers and doctors clashed with teachers, politicians, chiefs and CEOs...

During the football games, cones were employed, labelled with corruption drivers like greed, cronyism, bribery, nepotism, favouritism, tribalism and blackmail, that blocked the path of players...

Penalties in the game were imposed for players stepping on a corruption cone.

The simple messages that illustrate how corruption penalises the majority and stands in the way of individuals achieving their life ambitions, are ones that are clearly well worth sharing and repeating in society, not just in Kenya, but everywhere.

After the tournament, food and drinks were provided to the players followed by a graduation ceremony in the school with each graduate presented with a certificate to congratulate them and serve as a reminder about the power of leadership and integrity...

The event, targeting young people from the Mathare community is part of the charity’s anti-corruption programme that has been running in Nairobi schools for 18 months...

The tournament also comes as corruption in Kenya is increasingly being examined in the lead-up to this year’s 2013 presidential election...

Enouce Ndeche, the charity’s Executive Director, adds that using football helps to speak to young people “in their own language, the international language of football...”

“By making corruption relevant to their everyday lives, messages of leadership, integrity and equality became even more powerful, he says.

“It is through this kind of grass-roots activity that I believe we can eliminate corruption from Kenyan society.”

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Written and edited in London and Geneva All Xperedon news articles are original and are written by the Xperedon news team. The team is headed in the UK by Alan Cole, an experienced award-winning journalist and copywriter. Alan has previously worked in-house for UK publishers, Pearson Media (Financial Times) and Northcliffe Newspapers, among others, and is an accredited member of the National Union of Journalists, UK.

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