United Action for Children’s Community Sports for Development programme uses the power of football to mobilise children to channel their energy towards productive initiatives and to remove them from the streets and place in schools/training centres and make them become responsible citizens in their respective communities. The activities of this programme include football tournaments, clean-up campaigns by children and youths in communities, cooperative activities, thematic discussions on issues affecting their growth and development, container farming, HIV/AIDS issues and job shadowing.
Problem to be tackled
Through play children explore, invent and create. They also develop social skills, learn to express their emotions and gain confidence about their own capabilities. For many children in the rural communities of Buea Municipality in Cameroon, however, the choice to learn and grow through sport and play is unavailable robbing them of some of the most important childhood experiences.
In addition to missing out on experience of childhood through free play activities, by having minimal organised sporting activities, these children lack the developmental benefits of organised play including but not limited to social development, physical health and wellness, skill-based education, increased academic performance associated with sports, development of personal traits such as leadership, community building, conflict resolution, social inclusion, cultural and social sensitivity.
Children in these communities play with deflated footballs, using bricks as goal markers, bamboos as poles for goal posts. Outside of closed village school grounds, children lack playgrounds and open fields but make up for these deficiencies with strong wills and imaginations for play.