Championing sports to make a difference

“I always wanted to study. It is one of my hobbies,” says Joseph, JWL Diploma graduate. Growing up in the Democratic Republic of Congo where he did all is schooling in French, he had to learn English in order to socialise, pursue higher education opportunities, as well as find a good job in Kakuma. Before joining the Diploma programme and working for the International Rescue Committee, he made bricks to provide for his family whilst completing an advanced English course and computer skills training.

Since graduating from the Diploma, Joseph completed an Associate’s Degree and moved on to study towards a full degree in Public Administration, from Southern New Hampshire University (USA). This educational journey has thus far forged him into a more organised, critical-thinking and attentive person, with the necessary knowledge for success. After the degree, his eyes will be set on an MBA.

Joseph is also the Kakuma Learning Facilitator for the Youth Sports Facilitator (YSF) professional certificate course. A footballer from an early age and now Vice-Chairman of the Kakuma United Football Club, the prospect of being the YSF Learning Facilitator was also interesting because it would allow him to enhance his “knowledge about sports as one of the tools that can change a community in every aspect,” and apply his leadership skills to support students on their journey. The story of the founding of Kakuma United Football Club is just one example of how sports can make a difference, uniting refugees and the host community.

It has been a learning experience for both sides, as “each student came with his or her knowledge and experience about sports which helped both of us to understand better the basics of sports and how to use sports of the community development and peaceful coexistence.” He has been proud to see how well his students have performed. Keth, for example, is a young woman whose volleyball club for girls has managed to unite two rival tribes from Sudan. Some day, Joseph would like to establish a sports academy within the camp, to “enhance or prove how sport is important and the role it can play in people’s lives worldwide.”