GAME – PLAYMAKER PROGRAM KENYA.

GAME NGO from Denmark and MIDRIFT HURINET have partnered in the project Building peace and friendships using youth-led street sports and cultural events.

The Kenya Playmaker Program is anchored on MIDRIFT’s strong Place-Based Leadership Development  Programme (PBLD), and GAME’s youth-led street sports and cultural events program; in bridging ethnic and political divides between youth groups in East and West Nakuru Kenya. The project focuses on empowering (young) citizens to use street sports and culture as a tool for conflict mediation and social cohesion. 

A month before the August 9th General Election, the National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC) flagged Nakuru County in Kenya as one of the key hotspots areas likely to experience election violence Implemented in partnership with DIGNITY, Danish Institute against Torture

Playmakers engaging in basketball during the streets sports activity held on 29th July.
Football Playmakers during the streets sports event held on 29th July.

The  GAME  Project, therefore, came at an opportune time to reduce tensions and conflicts between youths and communities from diverse ethnic, political and social backgrounds in Nakuru East and West.

Since the Project implementation commenced in July 2022, forty-one young men and women (Playmakers) drawn from Nakuru East and West have demonstrated serious commitment and consistency to spearhead street sports activities, dialogue sessions and advocacy using knowledge and skills they have gained through the Project. The peaceful electioneering period experienced in Nakuru East and West is attributed to this Pilot Project.

 

With MIDRIFT HURINET being the lead partner, the project is being implemented in collaboration with four grassroots organizations; whose key role is to recruit the Playmakers and support them in implementing activities at the GAME zones. These partner organisations are:

Tribeless Youth, a youth initiative established in 2016 to promoting peaceful coexistence among youth in Kenya by using art, music, digital media and other forms of creativity to demystify the ideologies of “my tribe, my people” and galvanize unity among Kenyan youth.

Shabab Ladies FC, a ladies-only football club founded in 2016 to empower young girls and women by nurturing their football talents, and equipping them with skills to utilize their potentials in breaking the cycle of violence and poverty in the society; and contribute fully to the larger social transformation agenda.

Youth Bila Noma established in 2017 to unite, inform, and empower the local youth by strengthening community resilience and promoting social cohesion and inclusion; through community dialogue, skills development and civic engagement; by use of sports, art and activism.

Renegades Basketball, established in 2016 as a community empowerment club that uses basketball as a tool for social change, to help local youth realize their power, potential and agency to develop into responsible citizens, engage in corporate social responsibilities and build partnerships; thus contribute to positive social change in Nakuru County and the society at large.

CONTEXTUAL ANALYSIS

Systemic challenges facing the youth in East and West Nakuru are multi-layered; with criminal gangs that have been terrorizing citizens reigning supreme in the two sub-counties.  The ‘Confirm Gang’ group forms the bigger umbrella, masterminding heinous activities including killing and maiming innocent residents; and has more than fifteen subgroups who are known to forcefully recruit young people into their ranks, as well as engaging the police in armed running battles.

As a result of the harsh economic environment in Nakuru informal settlements exacerbated by the effects of the COVID 19 pandemic and loss of livelihood opportunities, a lot of young people lost hope in life, thus resorting to criminal activities. Cases of sexual gender-based violence have also been on the rise, with women and girls paying the ultimate price.

It is against this background that GAME seeks to address Gender Equity and Inclusiveness, by ensuring that girls and boys are treated equally and that they get equal opportunities and resources, starting with street sports and cultural events. Through the GAME  Project, sports facilities in the game zones will also be refurbished so that youth and children can conduct sports and nurture life skills.