10 December 2015

This year’s instalment of the East Africa Festival is hosted by Iringa Development of Youth, Disabled and Children Care (IDYDC) under the leadership of Johnnie Nkoma. Johnnie took time out of his organisational duties to share his perspective on the East Africa Festival project, which is now into its third year:

 

“The main purpose of the initiative is to unite all of our youth from East Africa because we believe that, in social development, we are all one person. We are all working in similar programmes and similar activities, so this is a way to unite our youth which will bring peace and joy to all the members of East Africa.”

 

Johnnie went on to express his pride at hosting the 2015 instalment of the event as well as his enthusiasm towards this year's cultural exchange dimension: 

 

“It is a pleasure for us in Iringa to host this festival because by inviting and hosting the other members we have the opportunity to share our culture, learn from each other and exchange experiences. The other members are coming from very far away – including for example Kenya, Uganda, South Sudan and DRC; When they come here we show them our culture, which they can experience and take the things that are good and use in their countries.”

 

Peacebuilding through football has been a key topic of the festivities this year and Johnnie was quick to point out the significance of this pursuit:

 

“We need to address our thoughts to the community and convey the message that we need peace in our countries.”

 

Elaborating on this point, he also stressed the footballing notion of ‘fair play’ as a great tool for communicating a positive message to young players. This, he explained, has a positive effect for the community as it enables youth to understand the importance of conflict resolution throughout the region.

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