Day 5 started at the very unsocial hour of 05:15am! However, the extended day was well worth it as we got the chance to see some wild game. AMAZING!
But it was soon back to class, and I was first up with an “engaging the wider community session” to help delegates identify who else they had in their communities they might be able to work in partnership with. The delegates responded to the session well and it generated an interesting discussion about working with the police; as in general, the police and communities couldn’t be further apart in Kenya! I did also share how Torfaen have engaged with the police for Dragon Sport and how their programme has developed over the years!
Sessions that followed highlighted how the Welsh Football Trust engage with the wider community and how the Urdd have developed sports leadership and volunteer recruitment. It was then back to me to share our Young Ambassador programme and discuss how they could possibly implement their own programme for youth engagement (especially as it appears to be on the agenda for all of the Ministry’s that we have spoken to-which I will follow up on).
After lunch, Aled Lewis from the Urdd and I jointly delivered a session to get the delegates to start to think about what they were going to do once the course was over and they were back in their communities. What was really valuable here is that we grouped together those that were from the same communities to chat about their plan once back with the community, but it also allowed for some area/regional planning to take place too – just what was wished for as an outcome of the project.
The two gentlemen from the Ministry of Justice said they had generated lots of ideas from the course that they would like to put into action to assist national cohesion. The opportunity arose later in the evening for me to catch up with their boss to highlight their vision, passion and enthusiasm and to point out that he’s the man that needs to allow them to carry it out!! I also pointed out that I had met with two other Ministries (Youth and Sport & Cohesion) and that they all had the same outcome but were trying to tackle it separately and should be working closer together to plan at a national level jJust like these citizens were at a local level!) I really do hope that during the week I have been able to make a difference.
The course had now sadly ended and it was back to the hotel for check out followed by a farewell and celebratory gathering at the British Council Offices with the delegates again.
They were very grateful for the resources from Sport Wales (A bag which I filled with - Dragon Sport Handbook, DS Toolkit, DS volunteer log book plus one of our little vision booklets so that they could assist their own communities in developing a shared vision for sport.
As gifts I gave various delegates that had made an impression on me a set of the Dragon Sport cards – and promised all of them that I would try to get the football cards posted to all of them.
I had also bought 6 whistles on a Welsh lanyard for the 6 females that attended the course, as engaging females in sport is a real challenge in Kenya – so go the girls.
As I sit on the plane typing this now I am thinking about what the outcomes of this few days has brought, and have I really helped to make a difference to Kenya’s vision for community cohesion? The answer is yes! I really do feel that I have assisted in Kenya’s vision for community cohesion and here is my evidence:
1. The week brought together citizens from across 10 of the communities in Kenya. The citizens up until now had been working predominantly on their own within their communities, but as a result of being together this week they told us today that they themselves had decided to set up a National Steering Group called “Kenya Cardiff Sports Network“ to help continue this work, and one of the delegates had already been voted in by the others as Chairperson! He is now going to write their constitution and may come back to me for some further help and support.
2. One of the delegates also recognised (during the Dragon Sport session – when he didn’t understand netball….) that he had neglected the girls in his community – so his action plan was to now go back and make sure that he works to set up activities for the girls.
3. Linked to the above point: Two delegates are from different communities but sit within the same region so, from now on, rather than plan and deliver just in their own communities – they are going to work together on joint planning and activities.
4. The Meeting with the Ministry for Youth and Sport and the Kenyan Football Federation and how they agreed they will now go forward together with joint discussion and planning and will also look to integrate the Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Education in discussions too for some real joined up thinking rather than trying to do it in isolation.
Thank you British Council for setting up the Active Citizens Project and inviting Sport Wales to be a part of something so worthwhile and changing.
I know my connections with Kenya will continue!!!!..........