Palabek is one of the newest refugee settlements in Uganda, hosting over 50,000 refugees primarily from South Sudan. According to the 2019 United Nations Development Programme’s Human Development Report, 85% of arrivals are women and children. Due to the conflict, many children in the camp have been traumatised by violence, exploited as child soldiers and lost loved ones. Women and girls in particular face gender-based violence and discrimination. In 2018, the UNHCR reported 4,822 incidents of sexual gender-based violence. The cultural taboo around menstruation also makes girls skip school or even drop out entirely. Limiting their educational and economic opportunities, they increase their risk of child marriage, abuse and teen pregnancy.
As repatriation is unlikely to occur soon and the refugee settlements welcome more and more people every day, there is a need to strengthen social cohesion and forge closer ties between the communities. Street Child and its partner African Women and Youth for Action Development (AWYAD) use sports and educational workshops to promote well-being, community engagement, child protection and social cohesion, and combat gender stereotypes. They provide the opportunity for children to escape from traumatic experiences and provide safe spaces where they can flourish. Sport will not be limited to school times, but also held during after school clubs, thereby creating a greater educational environment.
- Inspire both refugee and host children through sport
- Address the disparity in girls’ active participation in sports
- Provide safe spaces for marginalised children
- Increase opportunities for schools to take part in inter/intra-class and regional competitions
- Provide an inclusive sport offer for girls, boys and children with disabilities
- Train local coaches to ensure the longevity of the project
- Introduce and develop four sports across the settlement: football, netball, volleyball and athletics
- Build infrastructure for sports
- Train community coaches to recognise psychosocial risks in children and understand referral pathways at settlement level
- Train community coaches on the importance of inclusivity, with particular reference to girls and children with disabilities
- Train community coaches to promote fair play, cooperation, sharing and respect in sport
- Dialogue with communities at 10 schools, on health, education and inclusivity, in conjunction with sports sessions
- Target 11,000 beneficiaries – 8,000 children between the ages of 6 and 13, of whom 60% are girls and 40% boys, and 3,000 community members
- 10% of the beneficiaries will be children with disabilities
- As Palabek is facing extreme levels of poverty and in need of support similar to the refugees, 30% of the children will be from host communities.