Level 1 Coach Seminar in Unity State, South Sudan

Strengthening Communities Through Level 1 Coach Seminars in Unity State, South Sudan

In the heart of Unity State, South Sudan, amidst civil strife and environmental challenges, the Level 1 Coach Seminars pave the way for sustainable community development and social cohesion. Our initiative, part of the larger “Unity in Transition – Towards Community-led Humanitarian, Development, and Peace Programming in Unity State,” is supported by the Kingdom of the Netherlands and executed in collaboration with the Royal Dutch Football Association (KNVB).

Seminar Overview

We launched the Open Fun Football School- Basic Level Seminar from April 8-10, 2024, at the Bentiu Youth Center. This seminar is crucial as it introduces our Open Fun Football Schools (OFFS) and is fundamental in developing local leaders committed to fostering peace and resilience within their communities.

Training and Impact

Participants, aged between 18 and 38 from Bentiu and surrounding areas, underwent a robust training program spanning over 60 hours. This program covered the essentials of sports coaching and emphasised using sports as a tool for social change. The training was tailored to address the specific needs and challenges of the local community, ensuring that each session was not only fun but also enriching—promoting health, well-being, and inclusion among children.

The training focused on leadership, conflict resolution, and community organising skills, utilising Cross Cultures’ unique head-heart-skills methodology to ensure that each football session delivered maximum community benefit.

Community-Centric Approach

The seminars prepare coaches to work effectively within their local contexts. These coaches tailor each subsequent Open Fun Football School to meet the specific needs of their community. This localised approach ensures that the initiatives are relevant and have a lasting impact.

Results and Observations

The seminars had a profound impact, with 72 participants from six different zones. The training culminated in an Open Fun Football Festival, which catered to 800 children and significantly impacted the local youth. Participants showed increased confidence and competence, especially during the festival’s successful execution.

However, challenges such as gender balance and educational barriers were noted. Initial participation from females was low due to cultural norms, but efforts from the community saw an increase in female involvement as the seminars progressed. Educational workshops were adapted to the local context to ensure comprehensibility and engagement.

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