Aga Khan Academy, Mombasa, Kenya |

A new way to teach life skills – Sports!

We are delighted to share a blog written by Zakir Jiwani, a student at Aga Khan Academy, Mombasa who is part of a team delivering a Global Goals project for the 2018-19 Global Goals Competition.

Their project is among over 800 social action projects currently running as part of the GSL movement and we are excited to be supporting them to design and lead positive social change in their community. 

An extremely enjoyable and knowledgeable journey that was made better by conquering our challenges and learning through them, and through seeing our objectives come to real life

Project Overview

When we looked at our local community, we saw that there were quite a lot of needs that existed. However, the need that really inspired our passion to take on this project was the need of children in the community to have people to train them to develop their skills in football and the need of these children to develop essential and necessary life skills that they needed to become leaders.

When we talked to the headmaster and the students of Tom Mboya Primary School during our needs assessment, we realized that the children were very talented in football but they needed someone to coach them to become better, and they weren’t developing the life skills that they required which they needed to. This need was one that wasn’t addressed as much as wasn’t seen with much interest but it was a very serious one, and this inspired us to take on this project to meet these needs as we were passionate about the spread of knowledge and development of skills at a young age which we wanted to give these children.

Therefore, we chose to use football which is something that they love and enjoy to pass on these life skills to them and to train them to develop their football skills, to introduce new mediums to transfer knowledge that could inspire people to stop believing that knowledge is only passed in schools and to have the children enjoy our sessions. So far, we have had sessions every alternative Saturday for three months, where we had specifically planned sessions with drills made for the children that helped them to develop their skills in football and drills that were teaching the children how to apply these life skills. For example,

We had a drill that was emphasizing on passing, which helped these children to grow as footballers who pass to win the game and this helped them to develop the skill of teamwork. We have also had them play a few football games to see if they are applying the life skills we were teaching them and to see their improvement in football, as a reflection for the future.

Our Journey

There were a lot of skills that I developed as a result of participating in the GSL Global Goals Competition, and skills that I am still developing due to this competition. The skills that I developed were my social skills, my reflective skills, and organizational skills. This competition helped me to reflect back on our project usually, and this helped me to get my way out for the future and to work on our group’s challenges.

This helped me to understand the benefits of reflecting on our project and made it a habit for me to reflect to be able to improve on our project. This developed my reflective skills as I started reflecting more and did it correctly. When I reflected on our project, I figured out our challenges and what we had to do to combat these challenges. One of them was that we weren’t bonding enough with the children. This helped me understand that we have to talk with the children more and make ourselves more comfortable with each other to combat that challenge.

Therefore, I started talking with the children more and started to understand the benefits of talking and socializing with people and this helped me understand how we can make bonds with others, which helped to develop our social skills. This competition had set deadlines and had a lot of documents that we were meant to upload. We had to upload these on time, and this forced me to become more organized and practice organization as I had to upload the documents for my group. This also helped me to understand the benefits of being organized that gave me the habit of becoming more organized in other tasks as well. A skill that I am still developing as a result of this competition is my leadership skills.

This competition gave me a better insight into what it takes to be a good leader and the effort you have to put in as a leader. Not only this, but it also guided me on my path as a leader in this project and it helped me to reflect on what I was doing wrong as a leader and how I can improve. This helped me to understand what a leader actually is and how you can correctly lead a team. This added to my knowledge of being a leader and helped me to develop my leadership skills.

What I learned about myself was that I was very dedicated when working towards something that I was passionate about and when I was working towards a good cause. Not only this, but I also learned that I can actually lead a team and can be a leader and that I do have the skills to be leader, but I just need a bit more knowledge and training on becoming a leader. I see the fact that we don’t have any funds to buy the equipment that we require for the sessions as my biggest challenge.

Our group will overcome this challenge by hosting fundraisers such as football tournaments, applying for a citizenship fund in the school, and looking for donors to raise funds that we can use to buy the equipment we require. Not only this, but we also plan to ask people who run sports programs for their old equipment to use during our sessions. This will help us to overcome this challenge in the future.

The Next Chapter

We have many plans for the future to expand this project to be able to create a larger impact on the community through our project and to make this project accessible to more people. In the future, we plan to bring in basketball back into our project and use it to teach life skills, to be able to widen the mediums through which we pass on these life skills to others.

As well as this, we also plan to make specific sessions for the children where we tell them the importance of the life skills and help them realize the benefits of using them in their lives, to ensure that they apply these life skills outside of sports and in their lives and to make this project more sustainable. Finally, we plan to make this program accessible to females which we weren’t able to do that yet, to be able to make this project accessible to more people and for the benefit of more people as well as to achieve our objectives.

I would definitely recommend other people my age to get involved in similar projects because these projects are extremely helpful to your life. These projects help you to develop extremely necessary skills that you need to grow as human beings, and they also give you a very unique experience that you wouldn’t find elsewhere. If you want to benefit yourselves and grow as human beings, you should participate in similar projects.

The 2018-19 GSL Global Goals Competition is now open and runs until June 2019. If you belong to one of the 700+ teams of students currently delivering a social action project as part of the competition we would love to hear from you and feature your blog and project photos on our website to inspire others.