Blog by Sport Wales' Sarah Roberts...
Countdown = 1 day to go:
When our Chief Executive Huw Jones initially sent round the email late in September asking if any staff would be interested in supporting the British Council on a project in Kenya, I immediately jumped at the chance and put my name forward. A week later I was asked by Huw if “I had a minute? And could I see him in his office?” after my initial fear of “oh my god, what have I done wrong!” I walked out chuffed that I’d been given such an opportunity to embark on.
Now with only 1 day to go, I am both excited and apprehensive and desperately trying to sort out what clothes to take!! Typical girl thing I know!! Who will we be meeting? What will the weather be like? Will we join in with any sporting activity? Do I need to be smart and formal or relaxed and casual? Oh the dilemma!
Whilst in Nairobi, we will launch a “Football for All” project which has been developed by the British Council in partnership with Cardiff City Supporters Trust and is supported by the Welsh Football Trust, Urdd Gobaith Cymru, Cardiff City Football in the Community & Sport Wales.
The partnership is looking to achieve:
· A more cohesive, peaceful Kenya that will in turn translate to improved quality of life for communities involved
· Greater appreciation of sustainable development and interdependency of people and communities
· Increased power and decision making in the hands of the people
· And gender mainstreaming from grass roots levels.
All of which are fairly similar to what we are also trying to achieve in Wales!
The partners involved in the programme are:
· British Council – (organising party) creating international opportunities for the people of the UK and other countries.
· Kenyan National Steering Committee – with a mandate to co-ordinate all peace initiatives in the country and across borders.
· Kenyan National Cohesion & integration Commission who promote the elimination of all forms of discrimination and promote tolerance and understanding amongst Kenyans.
· Kenyan Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sport who work on Youth empowerment and engagement.
· Grassroots community based organisations – Active Citizen Programme.
There are 21 delegates that will be taking part in the week-long programme (7 female and 14 male) with ages ranging from 21 to 48, and roles ranging from Community Volunteers, sports liaison officers, Civic Educators, Community mobilizers / peace builders, football coaches and referees.
Central to the success of the project will be training young Kenyans in how to communicate with their own communities and how to influence local and national authorities to ensure sustainable, positive change, eventually establishing their first youth Parliament in Kenya, thus making their voice heard in decision making not just locally but on a country wide level. I am sure they will be very interested in the work that we are doing with Young Ambassadors in Wales.