Empowering Communities Through Football: Nasera Victoria Paul’s Journey with Cross Cultures
Juba, South Sudan – Nasera Victoria Paul, a passionate advocate for women’s football and sports in South Sudan, has been at the forefront of promoting positive social change through her work with Cross Cultures. Her journey with the organization has not only transformed her personally and professionally but has also had a profound impact on the community.
Nasera Victoria Elikana, 31 years old, hails from Juba, South Sudan. Her journey with Cross Cultures began when she first got involved with the organization as a retired footballer. Her background in football, coupled with her dedication to empowering women and girls through sports and entrepreneurship, made her a valuable asset to the team.
Before joining Cross Cultures, Nasera founded the Nasvick Initiative, which aimed to empower women and girls through soccer and entrepreneurship. Despite cultural and economic barriers, her initiative successfully increased women and girls’ participation in economic activities and soccer. Underprivileged households and primary school teachers in Kajo Keji County also benefited from practical entrepreneurship programs initiated by Nasera. Her educational background, including a Certificate in Project Management from the University of Virginia, a Master’s in Business Administration from Nkumba University, and a Bachelor’s in Economics and Management from Uganda Christian University, further equipped her to make a significant impact.
Since joining Cross Cultures, Nasera’s role has evolved significantly. Initially, she served as the national team manager for the women’s teams and later took on the positions of Cross Cultures Project Coordinator and Assistant Project Manager for the Women’s Football development strategy in South Sudan. Through these roles, Nasera honed her analytical, communication, team-building, and project-management skills. However, she faced challenges due to budget constraints and under-budgeted activities, making her duties more demanding.
One particular Cross Cultures project that Nasera was involved in was the design of the organization’s vision prototype. Her contribution provided Cross Cultures with a clear direction, enabling them to make a more significant impact. Additionally, Nasera highlighted the enthusiasm of the youth during coaches’ seminars, emphasizing their eagerness to learn and seize any opportunity that comes their way.
Through the Open Fun Football Schools, children and youth from diverse cultural backgrounds have experienced the transformative power of sports. Previously segregated, they now participate and play together, forming strong friendships that extend beyond the football field. Furthermore, low-skilled and unemployed youth have found engagement as voluntary coaches, professional coaching course trainees, and participants in vocational training programs, leading to improved livelihoods and minimized idleness.
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Working with Cross Cultures has not only benefited the community but has also had a profound impact on Nasera’s personal and professional growth. Her social network has expanded throughout the country, and her technical skills in project planning, budgeting, and monitoring have been significantly enhanced. She has also recognized the urgent need to support girls’ participation in the Open Fun Football Schools, further solidifying her commitment to gender equality.
Among the many memorable experiences Nasera has had while working with Cross Cultures, one stands out vividly. In 2020, she witnessed over 8,000 children participating in the OFFs festival in Juba and Torit. The joy, laughter, and hope radiating from the young participants left an indelible mark on her. It was a testament to the transformative power of football in the lives of children and youth.
Football, as Nasera affirms, plays a pivotal role in promoting positive social change. The sport’s popularity allows for widespread dissemination of messages and information, acting as a catalyst for social advocacy. Through football, people from different backgrounds come together, break down barriers, and challenge negative norms and beliefs, fostering unity and understanding.
Cross Cultures ensures inclusivity and benefits for all members of the community through its approach to using football for development. The organization advocates for a 50% equal representation of each gender and strives for equal treatment of community members. By drawing an equal number of participants from targeted communities, they create balance and minimize under-representation.
Looking toward the future, Nasera envisions Cross Cultures evolving into a globally reputable organization when they stay true to their vision, guided by the prototype. With their continued dedication and commitment, they will undoubtedly make a lasting positive impact on communities worldwide.
Nasera Victoria Paul’s remarkable journey with Cross Cultures showcases the profound impact that sports, particularly football, can have on empowering individuals and communities. Through her dedication and the organization’s innovative programs, countless lives have been transformed, opening doors of opportunity and instilling hope for a brighter future. Nasera’s story is an inspiring testament to the transformative power of sports and the potential for positive social change.