7 December 2015

East Africa Festival 2015 has officially kicked off in Iringa, Tanzania. Hosted by IDYDC, the festival brings together 12 organisations from East Africa, all of which are dedicated to the implementation of football-based development programmes. Over the coming days, the young stars of the festival will engage in cultural exchanges on and off the pitch when they attend a youth forum and participate in a football3 tournament. The festival also presents an opportunity for the attending East African organisations to learn from each other and identify grounds for collaboration in 2016 and beyond.

 

Some highlights from day one include:

 

 

Opening Ceremony

The official opening ceremony took place at the festival venue, where young leaders, players and delegation leaders from the participating organisations marked the occasion with speeches and dances. During his opening address, John Nkoma (Founder and director of IDYDC) welcomed participants and special guests to the Festival. This sentiment was echoed and extended by Gichuki Francis (Chief Executive Officer of TYSA), who was responsible for creating the festival in 2013:

 

“We have three basic reasons that brought us here together: one we are coming from organisations that have given us a hope during the years, two we want to build the East African Committee and, three we are here because we want to transform each other as young people, as old people – we want to transform our lives; these are the reasons for which we are here today."

 

streetfootballworld representative Julia Bishop also addressed the crowd following the welcome remarks, expressing her gratitude to IDYDC for hosting the festival and reminding the audience why they were there: to communicate with each other and to celebrate football as a force for good.

 

Youth Forum

The first official activity of the festival was a youth forum aimed at introducing young leaders to the football3 methodology. These leaders will act as on-field mediators when a football3 tournament takes place over the final two days of the tournament.  

TYSA representative Francis Ojilo, the most experienced young leader in attendance, shared his thoughts on football3 and his leadership position:

 

“Being a young leader means a lot to me because it enables me to address issues that my community is facing and engage young people in getting to know these important issues of the community. When I am implementing programmes on the pitch I make sure that I am combining both football and life skills to make sure that these young are informed of what are their rights, what does it means to work together as a team, and make sure that we are developing better community practices meeting and working together.”

 

The youth forum included theoretical sessions aimed at introducing the positive values inherent to football3, as well as practical training sessions during which the young leaders were able to learn more about football3 and experience it on the pitch.

 

 

Cultural Evening

To commemorate a successful first day of action, players, young leaders and other special guests came together to take part in a cultural event organised by IDYDC. The evening included a range of performances including music, dance and theatre, with local kids from Iringa sharing the best of Tanzanian folklore and culture. 

 

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