Soccer Programs to Empower 500+ Youth in Cameroon

 
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CFDP Youth and their Leaders at the Launching
CFDP Youth and their Leaders at the Launching

Happy New Year from Cameroon! It’s a great pleasure to update you, our supporters, on our after-school programs in K-town. I am excited to write to you after returning from two weeks in-country, engaged with our team in a strategic planning sessions and discussing potential expansion to two cities in the SouthWest Region via two partner organizations – more on that in our next update! Out first semester of the 2013-2014 school year was one which involved new schools, new leaders, and several new students in our innovative approach to youth empowerment, health and social education.

We kicked things off in late September with the official launching of our programs with a 2-day event sponsored by a grant from our partners, the U.S. Peace Corps. Our own Peace Corps volunteer posted in the office, Ryan, helped coordinate things so that more than 200 students from 13 schools participated in soccer activities, quizzes, debates, and other friendly competitions. The weekend was completed with voluntary HIV screening for older youths in our program.  More than 70 young men and women were tested and all of the CFDP youth tested results were NEGATIVE! The event was a wonderful opportunity to celebrate the good decisions our youth are making to ensure a healthy, long life.

Weekly sessions continued in each of the 14 participating schools in the months following until early December when the students went on Christmas Holidays. With creation of CFDP clubs in half of the schools (we are working on the other half now!), we are working towards sustainability to ensure student-driven programs continue for a long time.

To complement our after-school programs, our community-based youth enrichment football (soccer) league combines friendly competitions with health and social education. Every match that teams play has a theme. I was at the field to watch some games last week and the scene was nothing short of amazing. Team captains were engaging their players in discussions about the theme “self-respect” during their warm ups. Motivational statements were read via loud speaker right before the game to let everyone in attendance know that the game being played was about more than just soccer. I tell you, I was inspired! We are truly changing the way youth soccer is being played here in Kumba!

We look forward to a great second semester of activities in our schools. The focus for 2014 will be a shift to training more peer educators. Empowering this group is another step toward sustainability; plus, who else better to invest our training resources than the youth? They are our future. I invite you to stay connected with CFDP on our blog and via newsletters (sign up here) for more updates.

Wishing you all the best in the New Year!

CFDP Player Cards for the Youth League
CFDP Player Cards for the Youth League
This is one CFDP family! 3 current participants
This is one CFDP family! 3 current participants
Playing Games to Make Learning Fun!
Playing Games to Make Learning Fun!

Thanks to your support of our after-school programs last year, we are moving full steam ahead into our fourth year of educational programming in secondary schools in Kumba!! This time around, we have the endorsement of the Divisional Delegate of Secondary Education for Meme Division and official support from administrators at many of our long-time partners and a few new private, parochial, and public institutions of learning. Students in partner schools in Kumba are surely excited for what is to come! And here is a preview for you:

  • Volunteer teachers and coaches have already participated in several of our Leadership Training seminars and workshops and others will continue to do so this month.
  • Weekly after-school programs, with a new curriculum and new soccer drills thanks to this summer’s capacity-building efforts, will be underway in the next two weeks.
  • October will include a massive two-day event, sponsored by the Peace Corps Cameroon, to officially kick-off another year of activities!
  • Message boards will go up in all of the schools with monthly values, student spotlights, and activities to engage everyone in the school in the lifelong learning objectives of CameroonFDP.
  • Upcoming inter-scholastic games, competitions and workshops including our annual Conference on Sport for Youth Empowerment and Community Development in partnership with Go Ahead Africa!, scheduled for December 2013.

To show you the impact you have helped us to make over the last year, we want to highlight one bright young gentleman by the name of Enow David. David has been involved with CameroonFDP since we started at G.S.S. Nkamlikum in 2010. At first he was very shy and soft-spoken, but after some time he began to gain confidence and display his ability to lead his peers. After his second year in the program, David was elected President of the Nkamlikum Club and helped build it to one of the most populous and involved clubs. He helped to build a culture within the club last school year – so much so that other students who were not affiliated with our programs would often come to the field just to watch. They will sign up to play this year!

Now David has left Nkamlikum for the lower sixth of college, the equivalent of our 11th grade, at Cameroon College of Arts and Sciences (CCAS), one of the oldest and most prestigious schools in Kumba. Rather than joining the CameroonFDP club at CCAS, David will return to Nkamlikum to volunteer as a Junior Leader and help out leaders, Wallace and Ivo, both of whose dedication to their youth has undoubtedly had a tremendous influence on David.

Thank you for investing in the lives of young people in Kumba!

To stay connected, please sign up for our awesome weekly newsletter (so short and so sweet) and check out the updated website!

Links:

So excited to participate in end of year games!
So excited to participate in end of year games!

School’s our for summer…

But what our kids learned in CFDP programs during the last few months will stay with them forever. Thanks to your donation to our project on Global Giving, we successfully completed our third year programs for boys and girls in Kumba. With your support, CFDP clubs operated effectively in 11 schools, 2 sporting academies, 1 neighborhood, and 1 village. In each of these communities, 20 to 30 students gathered each week to learn and play with volunteer leaders who served as educators, role models, mentors, and most of all: FRIENDS.

The CFDP Session

Every CFDP session includes ice breakers, warm ups, soccer drills, a small group discussion, an activity or game, and a small scrimmage. CFDP has seized this opportunity to transform the unique atmosphere which encompasses soccer fields in Meme Division, South West, Cameroon into a safe learning environment by infusing soccer drills and games with educational discussions and activities. Every week from January through April, boys and girls gathered in their respective areas with a volunteer leader, be it a teacher or a coach, to learn and play in the CFDP session.

This past semester we focused on topics such as adolescence, reproductive health, HIV prevention, and gender equity. Before students go home from every session, they collectively agree on a “take home message” and how they might apply whatever was discussed in the session in their everyday lives.

CFDP Partners

CFDP partnered with 15 institutions to successfully reach nearly 400 kids each week. Girls made up more than 30 percent of registered participants. Sessions were held with each club on various days of the week.

Director of our upcoming Youth Enrichment Football League (YEFL), Wallace ran two programs on Wednesday: first at Cameroon College of Arts and Sciences (CCAS) and then he joined Ngong Ivo at Government Secondary School Nkamlikum.

Kumba City College hosted CFDP sessions on Wednesday afternoons after school, too.

Government Bilingual High School, a site with some of the most girls involved, ran on Friday afternoons and was led by CFDP staff Caroline, who has been working with the organization since Day 1.

CFDP team member, Martin, led sessions with boys from Olympic Fruiting Sporting Academy Friday afternoons and Presbyterian High School on Saturday mornings.

Other leaders who participated in training sessions in the summer of 2012 continued to run educational programs in their respective communities thanks to your encouragement via GlobalGiving.

End of Year Celebrations!

On May 15th, more than 100 youth – 26 girls and 79 boys, precisely – came together representing 11 of our 15 partner institutions in a friendly competition to see who would come out on top for the 2012-2013 school year. The teams, most of which had 10 representatives from their CFDP clubs, moved around 13 stations which combined an activity or game of skill with an educational topic previously covered in a session this semester.*See links below* The groups were scored on their ability to successfully complete the activities and respond to questions.

The Winners

College of Cameroon Arts and Sciences (CCAS) won First Place in the Educational/Enrichment Component

Mile One Community won First Place in the Sporting Component

All members of first place teams were awarded jerseys and soccer shoes (WOW!) donated by friends in the USA. Teams who placed in second, third, and fourth were also awarded prizes in the form of soccer equipment. 

Looking Ahead

NOTHING LIKE THIS HAS EVER BEEN DONE IN KUMBA! WITH YOUR HELP, WE ACHIEVED SOMETHING GREAT THIS YEAR!

A whole new bunch of institutions have already submited requests for partnership next year. We look forward to building upon the great success of this year and expanding in our fourth year of after school programs. Until then, please check our website to see what other exciting activities we have planned for the summer! Thank you!

Successful Day for Collins!! New Soccer gear!
Successful Day for Collins!! New Soccer gear!
Martin stands with his team from Presby HS
Martin stands with his team from Presby HS

Links:

Jaden is all SMILES on Games Day. Need MLS shirt!
Jaden is all SMILES on Games Day. Need MLS shirt!

You are inspiring hope and creating change in Kumba as supporters of Cameroon Football Development Program. We understand change takes time and it’s not always easy to see. However, the impact you help create in the lives of boys and girls in K-town can be seen. The impact is the smiles on our youth’s faces after successfully completing that one soccer drill that seemed impossible. The impact is when the light bulb goes on during a discussion about protecting oneself from negative influence of peers. The impact is the number of youth who turn out on World AIDS Day, more than 500 students this past December 1st, to play soccer and learn strategies to prevent HIV infection. We collaborated with Global Conscience Initiative, a local human rights organization, and the US Peace Corps to engage youth in a full day of fun educational activities which they will never forget.

Later in December, we hosted our 2nd Annual Games Day to round up the first semester of after school programs. Youth representatives from 10 schools, 2 villages, and 2 neighborhood soccer clubs participated in activities which included fun soccer drills and a rigorous quiz to test what they had learned from the health and educational discussions from the previous months. Diligent Bilingual Academy (DLA) emerged victorious with a total of 89 points of a possible 100.

One participant, Gina, age 14, said of the day “I have never experience anything like this. The CFDP have come to town with something different. I learned so many things to help me in my future. And with my friends, we are stronger because we work together.”

As we look ahead to a bright year in 2013, we find our partnership with the US Peace Corps creating new opportunities already. In early February, CFDP was invited to appear on Cameroon Radio Television (CRTV), the national broadcast network, to discuss how volunteerism can combat poverty and improve the situation for youth in Cameroon.

The second semester of after-school programs are in full swing thanks to your support within the GlobalGiving community. We are excited to have you on our team as this year is shaping up to be our best ever. Please continue to stay connected with us as we have some exciting months ahead!

Marie encourages girls to know they can play, too!
Marie encourages girls to know they can play, too!

Links:

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Organization

Project Leader

Justin Forzano

Pittsburgh, PA United States

Where is this project located?

Map of Soccer Programs to Empower 500+ Youth in Cameroon