On May 5th, 2009, Leah visited Sacrena as part of a formal evaluation. This is what she saw and what she heard from beneficiaries and community members during her visit:
"We arrived in Kisumu to a warm morning, Wycliff Mboya the director of Sacreena was at the Moi stadium kisumu with a group of youngsters. They were all milling around, some in sports jerseys and boots, other bare footed, others in casual wear, it was about 120 of them. There was a mixture of excitement and confusion, a matatu was hovering around blaring some popular Kenya tunes by nameless ( salary oooooh !! oo!!! , salary oooooh !! oo!! ) this tune is very popular with young people in Kenya, because it talks about joblessness among Kenyan youths. Some of the boys were boarding the matatu while others just hovered around lazily.
After introducing ourselves to Mboya and our purpose for the visit, he insisted that we must talk to the youths, he told us that they were headed for Uganda for a tournament so we should take as little time as possible, however he gathered the boys together we were able to introduce ourselves and our mission. We could clearly see that, this boys besides participating in the football tournament, they had no idea what else Sacreena does, all they knew is that they go to the stadium daily to play football, they hope against hope that when the national clubs are scouting around for younger players they could just be among the lucky ones and that is their happiness.
We talked to Mwangi a 16 year old orphan who dropped out of school in form four due to lack of school fees. We sought his permission to record this discussion on tape, to which he consented.
I quote “my name is Mwangi, I started playing for this project (Sacrena) in 2008, I play full back. I dropped out of school this year due to lack of school fees, I was in form four, I do not have any hope of going back to school since my two elder brothers are unemployed and can not help at all. I come for practice twice a day on a daily basis (morning and evening).
This project keeps me busy and also keeps me away from getting myself into a lot troubles like doing drugs and other antisocial things that many young people get into due to desperation. I don’t even know if I will ever go back to school, the chances are very minimal.”
"Are you aware that the project pays school fees for orphans?" I asked.
The answer was in the negative. All he knew was that the project provided an avenue for him to keep way from unnecessary trouble. It keeps his mental capacities up to date and he hopes that one day somebody will recognize his potential and take him back to school on a sports scholarship are recruit him in the Kenya national league tournament. For Mwangi, this is a hunting ground for opportunities.
We sought to know if he has had any training in peer counseling and he said No. “Our director is very secretive. I wish he could tell us what is happening in the project. We just see a lot of visitors come and go. Then we are assembled here at the stadium to meet the visitors and that is all."
Mwangi continued, "We don’t even go to the office or help out with any work at the office. As much as we have been offered the opportunity to join the team, we also have our own challenges with the club, but we are not given a chance to express ourselves. If you do then you are kicked out of the club. This project can help the youth more, if we can be given some roles to play.”
"Does the director listen to you?" I asked.
"You can’t dare speak, you will be kicked out." However, Mwangi affirms that some of them had travelled to Tanzania for a tournament some time last year.
Leah's Note: In this particular project we are forced not to use Mwangi's real name for fear of victimization of the interviewees. However we have the recorded interviews on tape with the actual names.
Marc Maxson's note:
Leah's report is very illuminating and somewhat disturbing. GlobalGiving is committed to an open process of keeping donors informed about their projects, including negative reports. Leah is an excellent evaluator because her postcard puts Sacrena in the larger context of delivering some good results (keeping kids out of trouble and providing opportunities through sports) while giving voice to the unmet wishes of the youth. Without openness, Sacrena will not improve. Without your involvement, GlobalGiving cannot improve its offerings. An honest and open dialogue allows you - the donors - to see the complexities of development work on the ground.
I URGE you to comment on this report. What should GlobalGiving do next with SACRENA?
What YOU DECIDE will shape our ongoing conversation with Sacrena. If you say nothing, then Wycliffe, their founder, learns nothing about what you expect of him.
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