Kenya: The "Together We Can!" Bondo Football Initiative
The "Together We Can!" Football Initiative- Bondo, Kenya
While Mark Dull and Jennifer Tenwolde were in Bondo working on a number of different initiatives, they hosted two “Together We Can!” football tournaments in March and June 2012 to provide disadvantaged youth with the chance to participate in an organized sporting event. This included the manufacturing of 140 football uniforms and 6 referee uniforms in Nairobi.
The Tournaments were organized to empower young people, teaching them valuable lessons about teamwork, and allowing them to gain a sense of accomplishment and pride. Most of the children who participated in these two tournaments were orphans or vulnerable--those who are normally “unseen” and left behind. Most of their parents, who were also “unseen” and very poor, felt empowered by the tournaments because they felt useful by helping out, and began to form a sense of community.
With funding from a generous ICO sponsor who is interested in children participating in organized football in developing countries, we organized 2 football tournaments named “Together We Can!”. The first tournament was played out at Dier Aora and Atilili Primary Schools on 24 & 31 March. For more details and pictures from the first "Together We Can!" Football Tournaments, please follow the provided link:
Additionally, you check out the fantastic “must watch” video that was produced by an ICO team member in nearby Kampala, Uganda from the first tournament:
The second successful “Together We Can!” Football Tournament was held at Nyakasumbi Primary School on 09 and 16 June 2012, with a total of 352 students participating in 26 matches. Priority was again specifically given to placing all of the school’s numerous orphans and other vulnerable children on teams.
As with the previous tournament, the children’s faces shone with excitement and pride as they changed into the shiny and smart ICO uniforms. The calibre of football displayed at the upper class level was most impressive; the Boys 7 vs. 8 finals enthralled the spectators and lead to wild cheers of support from their fans.
Players were rewarded with ample nutritious snacks comprised of fresh whole wheat bread and peanut butter. Officials and staff were nourished with a Kenyan tea followed by lunch. The school had ensured that adequate drinking water was available, and that hand washing stations were used prior to eating. The school also took the initiative to supply a giant tent for guests and spectators, in addition to a sound system for making announcements, calling out the play-by-play, broadcasting upbeat music and repeatedly thanking the sponsor ICO (they were very grateful). They also displayed the talents of their girls' dance troupe, who were headed to the district finals later that month.
Prior to every match both teams were paraded in front of the big tent, where the players' names were announced and they were wished good luck. On completion of the match the teams returned to the tent where the winner was announced. Following the awarding of prizes, the winning team once again returned to the tent to take a bow and be congratulated. Prizes consisted of award ribbons, pencils and rulers (donated by Ash Lee Jefferson Elementary School in Fall River, NS), and six brand new ICO footballs to be used by the school. There were six winning teams out of a total of 32: one girls and one boys team for the lower, middle, and upper classes.
The success of the "Together We Can!" Football Tournaments in Bondo formed the foundation for the creation of a similar football tournament in Moshi, Tanzania.
An assortment of pictures have been posted at the ICOOO Document link below: