Premier Skills Coach Educators receive certififcates at the closing of the legacy phase of the project, in March 2018. ©

British Council Uganda

Premier Skills is a partnership which combined the reach of the British Council with the global appeal of the Premier League to engage young people, including disaffected youth, to develop life skills, coach skills and English language skills, through the medium of community-focused football. The programme provided opportunities for coaches, referees and players to become better integrated into their local communities, to develop their skills for employability and raise their self-esteem.Premier Skills currently runs in 29 countries across Asia, Africa and the Americas.

How it worked in Uganda

Community Coaches received custom-made training that was aimed to improve their skills in delivering, inclusive training programmes to benefit their local communities. The coaches then engaged both the communities and children on the street during soccer clinic sessions. Through soccer clinics, football drills were delivered by Coach Educators and Community Coaches who had undergone face- to –face training on Child Protection. These coaches were used to pass on key transformational messages to the children on the street to help them  make safer decisions.

What are soccer clinics?

Soccer clinics are interactive football drill sessions designed to improve the children’s basic football skills and address challenging situations in their lives.  In these sessions, children also interact with former street children who share their experiences and success journey from the street to fame. At the clinics, children are also fed and have access to legal pro bono serves and interact with child welfare officers attached to police.

Our Impact

The power of football changing children's fortunes

At 14, JB was fast becoming accustomed to surviving on the streets using drugs and earning a living through collecting and selling metal scrap to recyclers. He had left his grandfather’s house in a remote village after his parents’ separation.

At one of the monitoring visits of the Premier Skills programme in Katwe, a Kampala suburb, JB approached Bright Kazibwe, one of the trained community coaches and asked for help.Working with our local partners, Retrak and the Police Child Protection Unit, JB was reunited with family. JB is one of the 16 street children living on the street who were resettled back to their homes through the program.

The Premier Skills legacy phase which was run by the British Council in Uganda in partnership with Retrak Uganda and Crane Network built on similar previous phases of the programme in Uganda using football to increase opportunities of disadvantaged children in Kampala. Young people (18-35) in communities trained as community coaches engaged street children in football as a positive alternative to engaging in destructive activities. These coaches also acted as role models in the community and mentored the children through football.

The trained community coaches engaged over 2000 children in regular community football activity as a result of which, 184 out of school children returned to school, with some receiving bursaries for their outstanding footballing abilities.

Also, the programme employed the ‘Active Citizens’ approach to provide social leadership skills to 58 women community influencers in slums and these have since started 11 projects contributing to a safer environment for children.

 Premier Skills coach educator Haruna Kebba who escorted JB back home, pointed to the power of football to impact lives. “Football is a powerful tool. On the pitch, children listen to us. Then we can teach them new skills.”


See also