Jan 3, 2020

We Make Kenya and the World a Better Place

Girls being Girls
Girls being Girls

We often focus on the incredible achievements of our soccer teams, but one of the outstanding features of the Manyatta Youth Resource Centre, primarily funded by Equip Manyatta, is the multifaceted nature of the MYRC’s programs. Not only do we field soccer programs for girls, boys, and young adults, we provide opportunities in fine arts, drama, video and audio production, bring health information to the community, and provide stipends to make sure our participants can stay in school. Over the decade, these activities have expanded and we find they often work together.

On Saturday, December 14, MYRC hosted a day-long event focused on Gender Based Violence (GBV) in cooperation with the Kisumu YWCA. The day included fun, food, and dance competitions; a girls 5-a-side soccer tournament, netball matches, soccer drills designed around the theme of GBV, performances, an airing of episodes of the Anita mini-series, and a talent showcase.

According to Women for Women International, GBV is violence that is directed at an individual based on their biological sex or gender identity. It includes physical, sexual, verbal, emotional, and psychological abuse, threats, coercion, and economic or educational deprivation, whether occurring in public or private life. The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) notes that preventing gender-based violence is complicated by the fact that certain forms of it are seen as cultural traditions or expectations in some communities. Forced or early marriage, “honor” based violence, and female genital mutilation are just some examples of such traditions.

Specifically in Kenya, according to the UN AIDS programme, GBV increases the risk of HIV/AIDS by reducing women’s bargaining power to negotiate for safer sex. It also prevents women and girls from getting treatment and from staying in school. Coming together with the MYRC community to talk about these realities helps break down the taboos that surround discussions of these sensitive issues and is a starting point for making progress in eliminating Gender Based Violence.

Celebrating the end of 2019, on December 31 our Chairman Oballah took a group of young people to the Budalangi Youth Sports Academy in Port Victoria, which is located to the northwest of Kisumu almost to the border with Uganda, to participate in a tournament. Any time we have the chance to participate in this sort of opportunity, it raises the skill levels for our players, but also costs money for transportation and meals. It is this kind of exposure that has helped our teams succeed at such high levels of play.

As the MYRC and Equip Manyatta traverse our 11th year we thank you for your past support and urge you to continue on this road with us. We have come from being a dream and great hope within the manyatta community and are now a respected, established organization. Your donations and support will keep our programs strong and give our young people opportunities that will serve them for a lifetime. Best regards for the New Year from Kisumu, Kenya, on the shore of Lake Victoria!

Women, men, girls and boys discuss GBV
Women, men, girls and boys discuss GBV
Thinking about Gender Based Violence
Thinking about Gender Based Violence
Even the very young are served by MYRC
Even the very young are served by MYRC
Men must be part of the solution
Men must be part of the solution
Women players at BYSA, photo by Absalim O
Women players at BYSA, photo by Absalim O
Oct 7, 2019

Our Young People Succeed Thanks to MYRC Programs

Our Champions with Governor Peter Nyong'o (center)
Our Champions with Governor Peter Nyong'o (center)

The Manyatta Youth Resource Center in Kisumu, Kenya is an ongoing project of Equip Manyatta with different programs actively growing and changing throughout the year and over the years. When the MYRC was founded, we wanted to set long-term goals that would make an impact for the youth living in the slums of Manyatta. Years of development have seen youth trained in sports and the performing arts take off on careers of their own. Our offices have moved, grown and are now situated in the heart of the Manyatta slums where they can work more directly with the community they serve. Our projects don’t have an end-date, so the ongoing help from supporters on Global Giving is critical to our fundraising plan.

Our senior soccer player, Austin, is an example of how our long-term project has been important to helping youth find opportunities through talent development. Austin was our youngest player in 2009, when the first teams for Manyatta United were being formed. Starting at age 9, Austin has passed through our u-10, u-12, u-14, u-16, u-18 and our Senior Semi-Professional team. His patience and hard work paid off when he was signed by Coast Stima FC in the Kenyan National Super League. When playing for Manyatta United, Austin was often approached by other local youth teams to come and play for them, but he always turned them down because he felt that Manyatta United was his home. We know from his time at Coast Stima FC even more opportunities will come for this young star. Austin is the younger brother of Sydney who also played for Manyatta United and was signed by Kenyan Premier League team, Tusker FC.

Another former Manyatta United Player, Tobias, has also been making professional moves. He was signed onto the reigning Kenyan Premier League champion team, Gor Mahia, after having an impressive season playing for Sony Sugar FC. Tobias helped Sony reach the top five teams on the table and is now tasked with cementing Gor Mahia’s midfield. Tobias is a product of Manyatta United FC and joins several other alumni who now also play in the Kenya Premier League. Sydney plays for Tusker FC, Yusef for AFC Leopards, John for Chemilil Sugar FC and Ian plays for KCB FC. If the Manyatta Youth Resource Center was not running a long- term project, these youths might not have had the nurturing and development they needed to reach their potential. They received consistent opportunities from the MYRC to keep working and training and competition that prepared them for the top levels of Kenyan professional soccer. As these players reach the highest ranks, others are also getting opportunities abroad. All of these players inspire our youngest members to follow in their footsteps or even surpass them. We hope to continue providing support to these youths and building upon what has already been done.

Our national champion team from the Chapa Dimba na Safaricom tournament received further recognition when they were invited to pay a visit to the office of the Governor of Kisumu. Our team, as well as our coaches and General Manager Oballah, met with his Excellency the Honorable Peter Anyang' Nyong'o, who is the father of actress Lupita Nyong’o. They presented their trophies to him and also explained the many challenges they face as one of the top teams in Kisumu County. As our team continues to show they are professionally competitive, the financial challenges also grow. Proper facilities, the travel budget, equipment and support also become a greater challenge as the level of competition grows. We thank Governor Nyong’o for taking the time to meet with our team and offer his congratulations.

In September, our senior men’s and women’s teams participated in the annual peace tournament at Jomo Kenyatta Sports Ground to mark International World Peace Day. The tournament was dedicated to world peace and the dream of a world without war and violence. Our ladies team won the tournament after several impressive victories over their opponents.

Our Performing Arts department has also led to professional growth for its members by supporting the production of music videos, performances and interviews. After beginning her training with the MYRC, today Nahna supports herself through her music and has traveled to Europe twice to participate in programs sharing culture, music and dance. Gabiro also supports himself through his music now and has recently self-released a new video titled “Kus Kus”. You can watch this video by following this link. He would love your like and comment! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jOSl2TY2hGU.

Our Performing Arts program also continues to produce new short videos in its Anita Series and has also started a new series titled, “Njoria”, which is a crime drama that chronicles the lives of young people. This story is told through their perspective on how they live the ups and downs of their daily lives. You can watch an episode of “Njoria” here”. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k8m9JgWIuSY&feature=youtu.be&fbclid=IwAR0UpJdaPCvnBYBtnCWsLnncWnJdALX2rcYZmipKx0HllxGtdhM5RMPKyYM.

If you are interested in seeing our champion Chapa Dimba teams and their journey through the tournament click on these links. In them you can hear from our players and General Manager Oballah about the hard work it took to take the national trophy during Chapa Dimba. The Manyatta United Journey: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pjDz3H28RAY&feature=youtu.be&fbclid=IwAR3SN68AsH7mPgn0NBLmIUO0Xp0lzNrFP2Tx7P5eE3-BAB53F8fFZfhbshQ.

And a short documentary about the team and the Manyatta Youth Resource Center:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t4c8Dj2pJIA&fbclid=IwAR063ms7VziBDAkVNt5J7QadLKZEKD2m2TYC3icI-NOvz-LCb4jxes8vyew

It cannot be expressed enough how much we appreciate every bit of help we get from supporters like you through Global Giving. We also must be clear that our financial challenges continue, so we need your continued support. If you are interested in a specific program at the MYRC we are very open to ideas. We value your continued support, and we hope that with your backing the MYRC will continue to provide positive, life-changing programs for youth in Kisumu, Kenya, on the shores of Lake Victoria.

Austin (in middle) 2010
Austin (in middle) 2010
Austin Celebrates Chapa Dimba 2019 Win
Austin Celebrates Chapa Dimba 2019 Win
Filming in Manyatta
Filming in Manyatta
Our Ladies Team Wins 2019 Peace Tournament
Our Ladies Team Wins 2019 Peace Tournament
MYRC GM Oballah with Governor Peter Nyong'o
MYRC GM Oballah with Governor Peter Nyong'o
Jul 15, 2019

Ten Years and Now the Champions!

Manyatta United are the Chapa Dimba Champions!
Manyatta United are the Chapa Dimba Champions!

July 2019 marks the ten-year anniversary of the Manyatta Youth Resource Center in Kisumu, Kenya, primarily funded by Equip Manyatta. Ten years ago a group of community members from Kisumu, the third largest city in Kenya, and two interns from universities in the Western US sat down to create an organization dedicated to serving the under-privileged youth in the slums of Kisumu. Over the years, the MYRC has moved from its base in a corrugated metal shed, to hosting community events, classes, meetings, and art shows at its compound. Its sports program, which started as a single Under-14 team, has been built into an academy for both boys and girls ranging in age from youth into young adulthood. We have developed players from that original Under-14 team, and today many of them have professional soccer careers. Many have traveled within Africa and Europe pursuing their dreams of playing professional soccer thanks to opportunities created by the MYRC. Our dance teams and drama teams have all been recognized for their creative energy and originality. Our recording studio has helped produce and sponsor some of Kisumu’s most well-known musicians.

Through all of these successes there have also been major challenges. As our organization grew, the finances necessary to keep our programs running also surged. We needed to help support the adults in Kenya who were keeping our programs active. We needed to help keep our youth in school by supporting them with school fees. As the level of competition grew for our soccer club, the costs and travel associated with that level of play increased. As artists worked to become better recognized, they needed sponsorships to travel to interviews and produce music videos. Thanks to the support from donors on Global Giving we have been able to keep our dreams alive, but it has not been easy. Please continue to support us with your donations, but also by spreading the word about our organization. We are urgently seeking individual and organizational donors who can help us with a single or repeating grant that will help guarantee our sustainability and stability.

 A testament to the hard work of our players and coaches through the years is our recent performance in the Chapa Dimba na Safaricom tournament. After a series of local and regional tournaments our men’s Senior team, Manyatta United, reached the Final stage at Kinoru Stadium in Meru on June 8th and 9th. As part of the process leading up to the Finals, two of our male players and one of our women got the chances of a lifetime through their performance at the Nyanza Regional Finals. In these semi-finals, Manyatta Ladies forward, Cynthia, aged 20, scored a hat-trick (three goals) and was named Player of the Match. Although the Ladies Team came in Runner-up in the Regionals, Cynthia was included on the Chapa Dimba All Stars. On the men’s side, Ibrahim, aged 20, was awarded the Most Valuable Player in the Regional finals and Benson, aged 17, was given the title Top Scorer of the Regional tournament securing their places on the All Stars. These All Stars, the top performers in the various regional matches, were taken to a training course in Spain as a result of their performances. They trained at Complex Esportiu Futbol in Salou, Spain where they were trained by La Liga coaches on world class playing fields. They came back in high spirits and ready to help propel their team to victory in the Finals.

And We Won the Chapa Dimba na Safaricom! Benson scored again during the Final match and Manyatta United became the National Champions after beating Rift Valley’s Al-Ahly FC 2-1 on June 9th. In front of thousands of onlookers, our players were proud to see that fans of Manyatta United had made the long journey across Kenya from Kisumu to Meru to support their team. This tournament has helped Manyatta United get national recognition. Through their participation with the MYRC, our players on Manyatta United will be given new opportunities to travel and compete at high levels. You can read about Manyatta United’s victory at: https://chapadimba.safaricom.co.ke/news/manyatta-united-kitale-queens-win-chapa-dimba-na-safaricom-national-finals/ and you can watch the full final match by following this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Is2qOhJA8As&feature=youtu.be&fbclid=IwAR2XxlCR7mjSYdM1-cVPh9G-IG8-VoiwmUTuejm-VONTix7iNszPvLKdhgI. Our match starts at the 2 hours and 18 minutes. You can watch our semi-final victory here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UmXeudm2GEU&feature=youtu.be&fbclid=IwAR2K04hcEVlkghFPuYbr3Fp1nPPgPsQohO_9y2F4f2j8sOf-DA0uZniQzHU.

Through these successes, we also have to be diligent in raising funds to support our education program. The MYRC serves close to 200 youth at a time and most of those youth are in difficult and vulnerable positions. The support that the MYRC provides for education can be a small amount to help a student get school materials like books and shoes up to full tuition scholarships. We believe that a good education should come first so that our youth are equipped with a variety of skills to meet life’s challenges.

We need your support to help keep our students in school. Joseph was a former student who was sponsored by the MYRC. While with the MYRC Joseph helped found the MYRC drama team and also played as goalkeeper for Manyatta United. After finishing school Joseph went to work at two different elementary schools, eventually started his own business selling cutlery and other kitchen items, and is currently a DJ at a local radio station in Kisumu. The MYRC doesn’t want a lack of funding to be the reason a youth like Joseph misses out on a series of opportunities. Please help us keep our students in school by donating today or contacting us to arrange an individual sponsorship program.

We know that the MYRC has the potential to continue to grow and evolve over the next ten years. The successes we have seen this past decade thanks to your contributions confirm to us that our mission is valid and that our programs are important. We wish for our programs to continue to grow and our success stories to keep coming. We can’t do it without your help! Thank you again for your support, which has been so crucial to the MYRC’s success over these first ten years!

Austin - Then and Now
Austin - Then and Now
Champions celebrating with our youth on the way up
Champions celebrating with our youth on the way up
Manyatta United Fans in Meru
Manyatta United Fans in Meru
News of Nyanza Regional Win
News of Nyanza Regional Win
Chapa Dimba All Stars in Spain
Chapa Dimba All Stars in Spain
 
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