Thursday, May 30, 2019

The weird fun game.

This is a weird game, is how one beginner described the Tennis game.Tennis is not a very common game in our communities. It is perceived to be a rich man’s game. Our community project in Kibera is meant to nature young tennis players from the slum into exceptional players. They are introduced into the game at a young age in our community court and graduate to the Sadili Oval Sports club where they get seasoned further. We have worked hard over the years to produce players who have joined the tennis national team.
Many children of different age groups who encounter the game, the first time do not understand it. They ask questions about the rackets and ball that always fascinate them. Since they can hold the racket and hit the ball, most of the balls fly out of the court and into the nearby Nairobi River. The child is then left wondering, what did I just do? You should see their face then.

Training session after school hours is fun and requires a lot of attention. They are taught on how to hold the racket properly `say hello racket?’.They are also taught how to swing the racket properly `draw a letter C’ the coach instructs. These take some time to perfect. They keep forgetting and are reminded by the coach. This is followed by foot work, the different tennis hits, serving and counting. Counting is the weirdest. We don’t say 0 point but we say love. We do not count the normal way as from 1,2,3,4 consecutively but  we start from love,15,30,40 and game.  All this is very unusual as you continue to learn the game.
Soon they learn to play the game. It is so much fun. They can now count and know when there is an advantage. They know when the serve is a fault and give room for a second serve. They know how to control the balls that once flew out of the court. The game now is so much fun that every Saturday they play each other find the king and or queen of the court. They now understand that even with good skills you need to be smart to win.
It is indeed a weird and fun game.

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Discovering the entry point for year 3 of the project

Data for baseline surveys are always the measure to clearly know where to start and the needs to address in reference to the set objectives and outcomes of project implementation.
For the three months of the 2nd quarter for the court of dreams project, baselines studies has been on going with implementers zealous to know the entry point for the newly selected sites for year 3, that includes, Stara Rescue center a school in Darajani, St Vincent De Paul in Olympic and Undugu Basic Education Unit located in Silanga, all located in Kibera slum.
All the tools were put to task including but not limited to; Children’s interviews that investigates the knowledge on toilet use, Standardized tests gauge the level of literacy and numeracy of children, Behavior dos and don’ts that tries to find out that understanding of safe WASH practices, Parents surveys, Concentration and memory games, Quick test games, WASH 2 that handles hand washing practices and monthly school attendance records for children.
Picking on one of the tools’ data from baseline that seem holistic in reference to all the designed M&E tools is Behaviors dos and don’ts. This tool was put to task with twelve pictures with behaviors around WASH.Children are shown the pictures one at a time and probed to tell whether it has a Good, Bad or an in-between option for those who were undecided on the first two options.
A good job done by implementers brought about a view of the state at baseline which is amazing and really defines why intervention is important in the selected sites for year 3.Data analysis showed results such as on the third picture with a child eating food covered with flies, out of 118 participants 29 of them said it is a good behavior, 8 participants were undecided whether it’s good or bad, while 81 said it is a bad WASH practices. This informs the wide spread ways of poor food hygiene practices in the community. Food vendors are always less concern of swam of flies on fish, fruits, and vegetables on a display table. Children learn from observations hence to them food covered with flies is not a bad behavior as their surrounding nurtures them.
Children also informed on the burying feaces as a Safe WASH practice to being a bad behaviors as majority of the participants in the sample saying it’s a bad behavior. Reading through their reasoning and comments, when feaces are buried this becomes interference to farming or people can still come into contact with the buried feaces.
The baseline studies therefore has informed implementers and the team at Sadili at large on the key areas and approaches to make  sustainable impact through reaching out to children, teachers and parents using various learning manuals as designed by the social educator. From the monitoring and evaluation desk a project is made of a commendable change at the end of the project in September 2019.


Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Significance of a name.

Names are powerful. Children learn to identify with their names at a very early age. They love to be called names that they perceive to be trendy, good, and stylish. We have had to refer to the same child with at least three different names as they grow in the program.  To all children it is important that you address them in the correct way in front of their peers. We have used names in our interaction with children to achieve different goals. Names have been a means and an end.
One of the drives to using names is to ensure we have a fun filled session as we learn tennis. So in our introduction session with one of the schools, our life skill topic was about healthy eating. Every child mentioned the food they like and we adopted these as their names. This made marking the register so much fun. We had ‘Omena’, ‘Madondo’, ‘Chapo’, ‘Chips’, ‘mafuta ya chips’ (to differentiate from chips), ‘githeri’, ‘mchele’, ‘maharage’e.t.c .They loved it and it made it  easy for us to know who is absent, and make corrections as we learn the basic steps. All the coach had to say is ``saidia githeri hapo, vile ameshika racquet atamwaga githeri yote’’ the kids would laugh and help. We never had a dull session and we still use our names.
Children learn from doing, they at times assume roles and sometime are given roles to play. This is how we came to give some names to our children. When we end our sessions at the community court we often have some children who just do not want to leave the court and go home. Otieno would go round telling them that the coach has said it is time to go home and make sure they are on their way. He is not old as you may assume he is in nursery school about 6 years. Every time we went to the court he is among the first children to come in and reports of what happened at the court in our absence. This is how he got his name ‘Soja wa coach’.
Head boy on the other hand loved collecting all the rackets and balls when session is over and ensuring they are well placed in the store. He will ensure everyone has returned their racket and all balls are in the basket. Our head boy assumes this role even without being told.
‘Ochi makamasi’ got his name because he always has a dirty nose. He is a big boy old enough to clean his nose but he does not. We have done live skills sessions on washing my face and cleaning my nose but this did not bring about change with Ochi. So we adopted this name for him so that he realizes and makes an effort to do something. He did not like the name and this made him check his nose every time he is coming to the court. This has improved and we do not use the name as often anymore. His nose is clean nowadays.
‘Baba yao’ got this name because he marks the register for the Squad and has to know all who are absent. ‘Mama yao’ serves porridge to the team so she ensures all have eaten. ‘Firstborn’ does cleaning of the cups. The names help the children remember their roles and responsibilities. As coaches we also get names in line with our inter action with the children, the oldest being ‘Princi’. Sometimes we are referred to by the name of their favorites coach.

It is important to ensure names are used positively, since there is significance to a name. 

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Marking the safe space

The safeguarding training held in April was an activity that children would want to remember in the days to come.  It was the first of its kind where we had children from our three schools come to Sadili to learn how they can keep themselves safe. The activity which took half a day was both fun and an eye opener to the children as they came to realize how their own safety is in their hands.
After some warm up activities in the field, children gathered in the hall very anxious to learn about child safeguarding. The session had a whole range of different topics covering children’s rights, maintaining a safe space, how to say no and the circumstances under which the rights of the child may be abused. Among these were topics children were already familiar with such as the rights of the child. Also were topics that were very new to the children.
 Intriguing to the children was the discussion on online child protection which was new and yet very insightful. The discussion centered on the use of social media and the internet as the other avenue that perpetrators of child abuse have resorted to as a way of reaching out to these innocent ones. Surprising to note is that more than half of the participants present were interacting with the internet in various ways and most of them being ardent followers of face book and Instagram

It was indeed an eye opener to the children when it was brought to their attention the risks of accepting friend requests from strangers, sending them to strangers and joining strange online groups.
Grooming and sexting was explained to the children as ways in which they became easy targets to abusers. Children were able to understand the simple ways in which abusers use fake promises to entice children into cyber sex and ultimately into other forms of abuse. Very engaging with practical examples of what goes on in the social media platform; children were able to identify with these examples amid laughs, jeers and questions. This session was the epic of all the lessons learnt and with so much to discuss, time became a limiting factor.

At the end of the day children had a lot to carry home in view of the do’s and don’ts in making themselves safe, courageously saying No to perpetrators and taking time to report any dangers and risks they encounter in their lives. If children will have to forget anything they learnt from the session, safe online use is no doubt one of the areas they will not forget

When Tennis Runs in the Family

Allan Bahati playing
It all started with Allan Bahati a 14 year old and second born of the family. During one of our sessions at the Kibera tennis court he came out and tried playing tennis since then he never stopped later the first born Jerry Masika decided to tag along out of curiosity he really wanted to see what really his sibling was into and just like that he got hooked too and the small brother Hezron Tajiri who is 11 couldn’t be left behind as the others went for the tennis sessions he also tagged along and later became part of the squad.
The three children come from Lindi located in the large slum of Kibera being raised by a single mother who support their passion of playing tennis as long as all the house chores are done you are free to go for the tennis sessions that’s what she says. The three boys have grown playing tennis from a young age till now they are all grown Allan and Jerry have joined different high schools leaving Tajiri in Primary but that has not stopped Tajiri from coming for the Saturday sessions and the brothers usually join for the holiday camps held at Sadili after they have closed schools.
“What impresses me is their determination and zeal. They are eager to learn and they are disciplined. Whatever rules I have set they usually follow to the latter be it keeping time or observing the different tennis rules”, say Coach Asha Adongo. During a short interview with the three brothers, Jerry wants be a professional Tennis player and a Neurosurgeon, Allan wants to be an Engineer and Tajiri wants to become a doctor in future.

Despite the distance from their home to Sadili, that doesn’t stop them from coming for the tennis sessions in fact they even get to Sadili earlier than those who come from around with the motivation of learning a new skill each time and they are always the last to leave as they want to practice with each other whatever they have learnt .It is here at Sadili where we nature the talent of the young ones and see them grow and blossom.
Hezron Tajiri before the game

Friday, May 3, 2019

The Clean Up Activity.

The 11th of March started on a beautiful note with the Sadili Oval Sports Academy staff making their way to St Catherine which is located in Sarang’ombe ward in Kibera where the clean up was to start. The pupils were excited as they were handed gloves and dust masks and branded Sadili caps as part of their protection during the activity.

The clean up activity was done in partnership with Woodley Nazarene, St Catherine, Ministry of health Kibera and Sadili Oval Sports Academy who were the organizers of the event. All individuals who were to take part in the activity assembled in one place and were briefed on how the activity was  to take place, that is where we start and stop, safety measures and  what everyone was to ensure he or she had for the activity.
Introduction of the different partners present was done and Mr. Stephen Oketch from the Ministry of Health officiated the cleaning up activity by cutting the ribbon and the clean up started. Everyone tried as much as they could not to leave any form of dirt behind as our main aim was keeping the environment clean and leaving it far much better than it was before. Members participating in the activity had the zeal of carrying out the activity, no stone was left unturned, no trench was left with garbage armed with rakes, spades and trash sacks they got the work done. A few community members were impressed with the work that was being done in their area that they even chose to join and help in the clean up.

The activity ended at Woodley Nazarene where all members practiced Hand washing after the activity which is one of the Life skills we teach our children and everyone assembled at the hall for the closure of the activity. Mr. Stephen Oketch from the Ministry of Health Kibera was able to introduce his team and later took all the members through the disease Cholera which had suddenly increased in Kibera. All pupils were then given Aqua tabs to help them treat their drinking water and they were taught how to use it. A snack was served to all and people left at their own pleasure. What a successful clean up day!!