The Open Fun Football Schools in South Sudan had the privilege of hosting Mr Urs Kluser, the director of UEFA Foundation for Children, from the 1st – 4th of November 2019.
At the debriefing meeting with the South Sudan Football Association, Mr Kluser congratulated the national staff of Cross Cultures and South Sudan Football Association:
“The visit confirmed to me that you really have a strong and unique programme that is working well, and I am really happy to experience the strong locality approach used. That is how the Foundation would like it to be. That is what the Foundation is supporting. And I am very happy to see how well this approach has been implemented in South Sudan”, Mr Kluser said.
During the stay, Mr Kluser visited six Open Fun Football Schools in four zones of Juba, as well as one Open Fun Football School and one festival in Torit, with a total of over 2,500 children aged 8-14 and 160 young voluntary coaches and leaders. Furthermore, Mr Kluser also spoke with several of the young coaches and heard about their experiences as volunteers in the programme and about their motivation and dreams. Mr Kluser was also invited to two private households and spoke with mothers of the children on how the Open Fun Football School programme has affected their lives. And finally, Mr Kluser also met with 31 young coaches that with support from the Danish engineering company, Niras have formed their own little business group (OFFS VSLA) that has taken several small business and livelihood initiatives, from which they are sustaining.
The original plans of the Open Fun Football School programme in South Sudan were to reach out to 1,600 direct beneficiaries. However, the programme has been so successful and well organised that the programme today host over 7,000 children and youth and this number is still growing day-by-day.
“I somehow suspected that the numbers you reported to us were a little exaggerated, but I see you are right. I also see that the project and your organisation has the capacity to scale up and introduce it in other states of South Sudan and beyond, should you succeed to raise additional funding to the programme. And you can tell any potential donors that they should jump in on it as we do in the UEFA Foundation”, Mr. Kluser concluded in the car on his way to the airport.
The visit of Mr Urs Kluser was further attended by Peter Karanja and Martha Karimi, representing KNVB-World Coaches initiative and Nenad Djapic, Open Fun Football School instructor from Bosnia and Anders Levinsen, Man. Director of Cross Cultures.
A special thanks from Anders Levinsen
“A very special thanks to our incredible team and colleagues in South Sudan that has made this wonderful, relevant and important programme possible: Our local coordinators: Ms Victoria Nashera, Bereket Teklay, Bensesio, Victor Ongoro and Martin for your great work in facilitating and coordinating the Open Fun Football School programme in South Sudan, as well as our cooperation partners from SSFA and Niras.
But not the least, many thanks and warm regard to the 280 young leaders and voluntary coaches who are organising activities every Saturday for 5-7,000 children in Juba and Torit, bringing children together across tribes and social faults and which are reaching out to all children incl. orphans (in Torit up to 50% of all the children).
Thank you for your dedication and participation in this programme. Without you, there would be no project.