My Return to Kenya
July 11th, 2017. Community Impact Coach, Salim Blanden, writes about his experience working in Migori with Youth Empowerment through Sport, also known as YES Kenya.
24th June 2017, on a sunny Saturday, my journey from Kampala to Kenya began. On the bus along with me was my colleague and first time ever Community Impact Coach, Nicholus Achimpota from Tanzania. I was so excited to learn I was going to spend the next five weeks on field with Nico. This would be my return to Kenya after running the first program in 2015 in Mbita, Homa Bay with Boychild Agenda.
On the bus however, we missed our team leader from the USA, Mark Gabriel because of weakness due to a sickness. Mark stayed in Kampala and would travel the following day.
Our on-field training with Youth Empowerment through Sports (YES) in Migori started immediately on Monday morning with about 30 participants from Migori, and some others from neighboring areas around Migori County.
Due to Mark’s absence on-field, it was very clear myself and Nico would run the program on our own. This was therefore the first ever Community Impact Coach ran program. A participant said, “I enjoyed this program so much because I really see myself in you.” This showed the value and power of having a CIC led program. The experience was great because we managed to take charge and everyone believed in us. Mark also motivated and encouraged us throughout the whole week.
This was an example that local coaches (Community Impact Coaches) can make an impact and run programs in different areas, independently and bring about positive social change in communities where they work.
It was evident there was an impact created because of the cooperation of the participants. Especially with games reflecting gender equity, communication and fun, there was a message that CAC games and participants would continue bringing about positive change even when CAC has left the local area.
The excitement I got from slaughtering chickens for our lunch on two separate occasions and the confidence I gained from running the program as only a CIC, made me forget the cold night we spent in Kisumu Town Roads before we traveled to Migori one early morning. This taught me a lesson in life, to never stop moving despite the different challenges on the road!