Community coaches lead street connected girls through a warm up session during a soccer festival in Katwe Slum-Kampala ©

British Council

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.”