A report by Nacada shows the prevalence rate of alcoholism in men stands at 34% in Central Kenya. Grim statistics unveiled by the agency confirmed the worst fears of leaders in a region where the number of bars outnumber schools by 20%. This problem has a direct impact on the number of children who are exposed to vulnerability. Action for Children seeks to arrest this situation through sports and in particular football. The aim is to offer an alternative to alcohol and drugs. The tournaments are also a good way to introduce HIV education. Currently AfCiC is supporting 8 football teams and wishes to reach out to more children in Thika through the medium of football.
Guided by a baseline survey conducted in Kiandutu slum, a football club was established to help deal with the issues of crime and idleness. The club engages children and youths and children over the weekends and school holidays and most of all the children love it.
Another football team established and supported by AfCiC is Karibaribi Primary School’s girls team, which is also a useful way to help break cultural myths about girls and women in the community and to educate them about their rights. The club helps them to learn key lessons in teamwork, overcoming difficulties and understanding basic instructions while playing football. These vital skills are then applied in their day to day lives.
During the tournament’s half time, HIV messages and life skills messages are disseminated where the girls are given an opportunity to discuss issues affecting them and come up with their own solutions.
The project has gained community ownership as most of the people who work with AfCiC social workers are volunteers who offer their services either as coaches or help in keeping the equipments safe. Parents are also appreciative that their children are spending less and less time in the market’s video kiosks and other unsuitable places.
Action for Children in Conflict appreciates the support given by Kenya Clay Products, Thika United and the Manchester United Football Academy. Without them this project would not be such a strong success.