Enhancing integration through inter-school football & athletics tournament in Kismayo
Kismayo is a coastal city located 528 kilometers (328 miles) southwest of Mogadishu. It is the third largest city in Somalia with a population of around 900,000. The city recently experienced a population surge, hosting the bulk of the Somali returnees from Dadaab refugee camps in northern Kenya. According to United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), up to 76,161 Somali refugees have voluntarily repatriated to southern Somalia since Dec 2014.
Kismayo, like many other urban cities in Somalia has fragile political, social, economic and infrastructural settings that are likely to become a major driver of instability between the host community and the returnees from Dadaab. A sudden increase in population can put additional strain on communities that have limited access to basic services, shelter and livelihood opportunities.
Save the Children Somalia, in partnership with the Ministry of Youth and Sports (MoYS) & Ministry of Education (MoE) of Jubaland State of Somalia, co-organized an inter-school sports tournament for 14 public schools in Kismayo. The football and athletics tournament was funded by German Federal Foreign Office (FFO)
Through Save the Children’s education and child protection department, a total of 280 students/youth comprising of internally displaced persons (IDPs), returnees and host community directly participating in the competition.
On every Thursday and Friday for a month, the tournament was held at Wamo Stadium. The games attracted many supporters from all ages and gender with live broadcasting on TV via Jubaland TV. “The aim for this historic tournament in Kismayo was, to enhance the relationship between youths from different schools and to encourage for an environment in which to interact with each other despite their social differences said Ahmed Hassan Osman, Save the Children Kismayo Field Manager. Another major objective was to enhance a spirit of co-operation and teamwork within the school unit and to encourage talents.
Each player was provided with football materials such as;
- Football kits
- Sport shoes
- Shin Pads
- Refreshments during each game
At the end of the competition the winning football teams and runners up were awarded trophies and medals for their achievements. During the closing ceremony Aabdiwahid Ahmed Yare, Minister of Sports and Youth said in his speech “this was a great initiative in which we are very proud and thank Save the Children without whom, this beautiful event would have been impossible.Ahmed Farah Taqal, Representative of FIFA thanked Adan Farah Garane, Deputy Chair of Sports and Youth Coaching and both ministries for their leadership and vision. Taqal praised and thanked Save the Children for taking “a lion’s share” in organizing this historic tournament.
By Mohamed Osman