Project #3184

Sports for African children with Disabilities

by The Kids League (Uganda)

June and July 2012 were successful months for the Inclusion through Disability Sports (IDS) programme which saw more children incorporated and the introduction of 'Life Skills'; an initiative designed to send educative messages to participating children on issues such as leadership, self-esteem and responsibility. The Life Skills programme has been a great success. The children have not only expressed their enjoyment of the programme but have also demonstrated encouraging development on issues such as sanitation and health, in many cases even sharing what they have learnt with their friends outside of the project. Combined with the fun and exciting sports activity, this has helped add great value to the work being done on the project.


To give one example - Ajok Monica of Laroo is 14 years old and is in P.6. She is one the children taking part in the project who has a severe physical disability and she has played in several seasons with The Kids League. She plays wheelchair basketball and boccia and she has expressed an interest in playing showdown next season. She said that before taking part in the IDS programme she was very passive and did not believe that she would ever take part in sports games. She said that she is proud to have made new friends and to have taken part in games with peers both from her own school and from other schools. She notes that she has felt very happy since starting to take part in the programme and that through the life skills programmes she has learnt about the value of leadership and gained greater respect for her colleagues whilst also learning about personal hygiene. This demonstrates that the project is continuing to have a positive impact on its’ participants and that their continued involvement will help to ensure their personal development continues as they take part in fun activities that allow them to meet and interact with many new people.



A large focus of IDS continues to be promoting inclusion and interaction between able-bodied and disabled children. For example, in Gulu 20 able-bodied children have also been participating in the programme as well as children with mental impairments from Gulu Prison Primary School. Inclusion is a key pillar of IDS and is embraced fully and effectively by coaches and indeed the wider community. There has been a great deal of interest from able-bodied children in taking part in IDS activities which serves as key evidence that the programme is successfully changing social perceptions. Events such as those celebrating the Day of the African Child, on July 16th, where IDS children were invited to participate in well-received demonstrative events, serve to further raise awareness in the wider community.


Progress has been made in addressing the feedback from last year's programme; attendance issues are being tackled effectively. The future is bright for IDS, with 32 enthusiastic coaches committed to ensuring a sustainable programme continues to deliver great support for the participants. Meanwhile the project seeks to build on the success of events such as not only the aforementioned Day of the African Child, but also the July 21st VSO event at Pece Stadium which saw ten children and two coaches perform another demonstration. A similar event is planned to be held at Gulu University and there is the hope of more outreach work in other sub-counties such as Odek, Lalogi and Opit, to increase awareness of the project and the issues it seeks to highlight. GDPU also hosted a National Wheelchair Association wheelchair basketball course led by a member of the German Paralympic Committee who delivered a four day course, training about 35 participants from across Uganda. These coaches will be passing on these skills to their communities and represent an efficient way of promoting sustainability.


Planning has also been underway to expand and improve facilities. TKL Programmes Manager Euan visited Amuru-Pabo sub-county with Michal Aloya where a potential site for a basketball court was inspected. GDPU and TKL staff members agreed it was suitable - however significant investment will be required.


Mid-July saw the climax of the fourth IDS sports season at the Gulu GDPU centre. Children and parents from Pabo and Gulu attended and the large crowd was treated to a great festival of sport.  The demonstrations of wheelchair basketball, volleyball, showdown, boccia and sit ball were indicative of the central theme of the season; children being given the spotlight and relishing the opportunity. In August planning began for the next season which will see the project continue in Gulu and Amuru, but also expanded into a third district in northern Uganda, Nwoya. Coaches have been selected and trained and children identified to take part in the programme – they await the start of activities with a great deal of excitement!


We would like to thank our project partner in the UK, Motivation UK, as well as our project partners GDPU who are doing great work in mentoring the children and their families in disability awareness issues. We would also like to thank our coaches for their hard work and dedication to the project and of course the participating children, for helping to make the project such a success. Finally, big thanks to project supporters Comic Relief and the Premier League.


We invite donations and also suggestions on how we can improve and expand the impact of our project both within the local community in Gulu and across the rest of northern Uganda.


The Inclusion Through Disability Sport (IDS) Project went from strength to strength as it neared the end of the first year of the project. The third sports season got under way in Gulu, northern Uganda while in the neighbouring district of Amuru, project activities officially began in the town of Pabo. During the first year of the project The Kids League and its’ partner organization Gulu Disabled Persons Union has managed to reach 150 children living with a variety of disabilities in both of these districts, providing sports training and mentoring for children and their families. During sports seasons children do training with their teachers in their respective schools – all of whom have been trained by The Kids League to deliver sports coaching to children with disabilities – and then come together to interact with children from different schools and take part in a variety of sports activities. The children have participated in football, volleyball, goalball, boccia and wheelchair basketball, making new friends and demonstrating their capabilities to both their school peers and the wider community. For example, aside from the regular league activities, the project partners have organised or participated in 5 community events, in which 135 children (including 12 without disabilities) demonstrated inclusive sports or spoke publicly about the need for disability inclusion. These public events reached over 500 people from the local communities. Finally, during the final day of the third season, all the participants plus many guests from the local community attended the finals of the sports season; all the children had a great time demonstrating their skills and celebrated the opportunity to have fun and enjoy these activities in a public setting, supported by many members of the community.

The IDS project has had a remarkable impact on many children who have taken part in the project. For example, one participant, Pauline, had this to say about the impact her mentor, Jennifer, and having the opportunity to play sports had on her family’s perception of her:

“Before I had interaction with Jennifer, I feared explaining my problems to my relatives, but after a number of discussions and advice I got from Jennifer I can now share my problems with her. For instance I dropped out of school in 2007 when my mum died, but she has encouraged me to go back to school. I am now studying in Gulu Prison Primary School. She has talked to my uncles and now they have hired someone to transport me to school on a motorcycle every day and life has become better. At school I have lots of friend that I play with. Whenever I have any problem, I usually tell her first. I now call her my Aunt.”

Jennifer’s is of many success stories, and indicates the ability of the project to tangibly change children’s lives for the better. Her confidence in her sporting ability and progress in enrolling in school is testament to the ability of the IDS project to, first and foremost, directly help intended beneficiaries, but also to demonstrate the importance of inclusion to the wider community. Around a quarter of the children enrolled in the project do not currently attend school, so the peer mentors are working hard to change that. The inclusion of girls into the project – girls themselves being particularly marginalized in the local setting, girls with disabilities even more so – is also a priority for the project partners.

Furthermore, TKL would like to expand the scope of the project by encouraging more activities focused on inclusion. Several children without disabilities currently participate in the project to promote the potential of children both with and without disabilities to play sports together. This is something TKL would like to expand and for which we are looking for funding. We hope to continue to promote the rights and abilities of people living with disabilities in within the local community, each small step ensuring that in the future people living with disabilities will be accepted and championed within their communities.

We would like to thank our project supporters, Comic Relief and Motivation UK, as well as our project partners GDPU, coaches and of course the participating children, for helping to make the project such a success. We invite donations and also suggestions on how we can improve and expand the impact of our project both within the local community in Gulu and across the rest of northern Uganda.

The Kids League - A-League participant
The Kids League - A-League participant

The Kids League Report for the Inclusion through Disability Sports (IDS): Activities Undertaken in July

The month of July was the turning point for the project in terms of fulfilling its objectives. On 9th July the season activities began in earnest. The season started after a lot of hard work had been done by the partners within the schools and the above. Prior to 9th July there was an exhibition week of intense training to show the public about the IDS project in the District. The following activities were carried out during July.



  1. Arranging the children into teams for the various games/sports undertaken
  2. Delivering coaching sessions to the school teams alongside their coaches
  3. Visit to Nwoya District to exchange them memorandum of understanding between GDPU and the local government
  4. Drafting formal letters for the schools to clarify the schedule of the season

Children from the schools in the programme have been taking part in various games like wheelchair basketball, volleyball, boccia and showdown during the competitive weekend activities – which have formed the official league aspect of the project. However, other games like goalball, football and netball are being introduced at practice sessions during the week to show how they can be adapted for children with disabilities. This is good preparation for future seasons as these activities will not be entirely unfamiliar when they are incorporated into the programme, perhaps in September. They can also be used in addition to the current sports when we do advocacy work in schools with able-bodied children to create awareness in the community about disability.

Season logistics: the basketball, volleyball and boccia leagues all comprise four teams, and the competitive activities take place at the GDPU centre.

After the refresher training courses the coaches were familiar with what they needed to do, in terms of delivering quality training for the children involved in the programme, and in and for promoting the activities in their schools/communities. This has been sustained through further guidance during the first weeks of the programme Also delivering the training schedule for the wheel chair basket ball training at GDPU centre.



The number of children who are participating in the sports activities (be it training or competitive games) and interest levels in the project have gone beyond what was initially expected. We need to manage expectations and set out a clear guideline for the number of children who are involved at any given point. The exact number of participants will be clarified before the next season starts. This will be done through consultation with the TKL head office in Kampala, the TKL coordinator and GDPU.

There is currently no money set aside in the budget specifically for refreshments (water) for coaches and participants during the activities. We are trying to get around this within the budget but a specific allocation for future activities would be helpful.


Gulu Coaches learning Sign Language
Gulu Coaches learning Sign Language

During this month different activities were conducted which were in line with the project objectives.


  • Delivery of the refresher training course for coaches
  • Follow up of the coaches
  • Scheduling of the training programme in schools
  • Mobilisation of the coaches.

On 10th June 2011 the refresher course began at the GDPU centre.  Twenty coaches attended the activities over two days, with discussions taking place over skills already acquired by the coaches and new ideas that will help in handling forthcoming seasons. Attendees included Fred Semakula ( GDPU co-ordinator), Ojok Patrick (GDPU Field Officer). Simon represented the Visually impaired department. The training was facilitated by Michael Aloya and Jill of TKL. The main outcomes of the training  were as follows:

  • Different skills/ideas for coaching various games with children with disabilities were covered. This included ideas for sports such as volleyball, football, showdown, goal ball, wheelchair basketball, netball and Boccia
  • Discusssions took place about the necessary communication skills required when dealing with children with disabilities
  • Discipline among the coaches was highlighted as a top priority in the project
  • The overarching goal of advocating the rights of children with disabilities through sports was considered, and how the Gulu project could best achieve this
  • There was also a discussion of LANGUAGE used while with the children with disabilities during sporting activities

In the two weeks following the training course TKL travelled to meet the various coaches at their schools to see if they were using the skills/knowledge acquired. As a result of these follow-up consultations the training course can be considered a success as most of the coaches had begun some mentoring processes with the children, talking about various aspects of the games that will be tested during the project. For example, children at Mother Teresa Primary School and Laroo Boarding Primary School were already practicing football, while at Gulu Primary School their children were already enjoying the showdown and the goalball games.


The Project Coordinator also emphasized that the project should promote strict adherence to respecting the rights of the persons with disabilities.

Coach Training: Learning Boccia
Coach Training: Learning Boccia
Coach Training: Learning Boccia
Coach Training: Learning Boccia


Licensed to Play Sports!
Licensed to Play Sports!

In the first year of this project we are deligted to report that 55 coaches have been successfully trained and 80 disabled children have been able to participate in sports leagues in Kampala.

In the coming year we hope to expand the training to coaches in Gulu a town in Northern Uganda where The Kids League conducted its first leagues back in 2003 in the days when a rebel army was abducting children as young as 5 years old into its ranks.

Gulu suffered 20 years of war ending in 2006 and a whole generation grew up in Internally Displaced People's camps. As these people go back to their traditional villages they face many challenges not least of all because they no longer have the skills to farm the land.

There is an increased number of children born with disabilities in conflict zones and some children are injured as direct result of war (eg by land mines). This migration from IDP camps to farms in Gulu District has had particular consequences for children with disabilities who have been left behind until the farms become productive once again and food supplies have been estabilised and stabilised.

So as we move our interventions up to the north, please help us to train coaches and put on some fun and healthy sporting activities for these children by donating to our cause!!

We will be eternally grateful and so will they!



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Organization Information

The Kids League (Uganda)

Location: Kampala, Uganda - Uganda
Website: http:/​/​
The Kids League (Uganda)
Project Leader:
Ann Dudley
Country Director
Kampala, Uganda

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