South East District Youth Empowerment League, (SEDYEL): Developing a sustainable youth-led sports program for Botswana

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South East District Youth Empowerment League, (SEDYEL): Developing a sustainable youth-led sports program for Botswana

Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

Using sports to channel the energy and enthusiasm of young people away from the risky behaviors.

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Positioning of your initiative on the mosaic diagram:
Which of these barriers is the primary focus of your work?

Sport is trivialized

Which of the principles is the primary focus of your work?

Use sport to build character

If you believe some other barrier or principle should be included in the mosaic, please describe it and how it would affect the positioning of your initiative in the mosaic:

This field has not been completed

What is your signature innovation, your new idea, in one sentence?

Using sports to channel the energy and enthusiasm of young people away from the risky behaviors.

Describe your innovation. What makes your idea unique and different than others doing work in the field?

The unique thing about SEDYEL is that; it's for young people by young people. It gives young people an oppurtunity to take initiative as they are on the driver's seat. SEDYEL works at the grassroots level to build local leadership capacity and community involvement by actively engaging young people in sports through organized weekly league matches and Empowerment tournaments.

What are the existing barriers, the biggest problem, your innovation is hoping to address/change?

Botswana’s fight against HIV/AIDS is one born of many social factors. For the youth of Botswana, an inadequate lack of sports and extra curricular activities means that many turn to high risk activities including alcoholism, drug use and delinquency to fill their time. In South East District, a region comprising approximately 70, 000 people these issues are ever present.

Delivery Model: How do you implement your innovation and apply it to the challenge/problem you are addressing?

The need for youth led programming in sports and other creative pursuits for young Motswana cannot be overemphasized. Such bodies would provide activities that would impede on the worrisome trends mentioned above. As well such structures will present ideal platforms for offering appropriate HIV/AIDS education, leadership and training directly to the youth. This would develop new responsible leaders among the youth, once who would then educate their peers.SEDYEL offers the opportunity to engage youth in an integrated approach to build skills that they need to protect themselves from HIV infections, through Peer to Peer education model. Through Community and School Outreach Programs, SEDYEL has been able to reach in and out of school youth, building their lifeskills and leadership skills as part of an intergrated sport development program. Physical activity interwoven with the Kicking AIDS Out concept, is an ideal delivery mechanism to tackle youth development issues and HIV/AIDS.

How do you plan to grow your innovation?

SEDYEL's overall goal is to create a youth led sports program implemented by and benefiting the youth. Regular organised competitions for boys and girls below the age of 16 years of age was almost non-existent in Botswana. Over the last two years, a registration campaign was launched in the district and the results have been astounding, with 94 teams being formed. The league also acts as a mobilizing tool for the identification of key local volunteers and a delivery mechanism for Health Education. The program aims at expanding its facilities as a sports and community development program. Based on the experiences, it is evident that to maintain any level of sustainability for the long term, empowering the youth leaders is essential and at the same time developing their skills. Skills development capacity building program has been initiated with the Mathare Youth Sports Association of Kenya, aimed at transfering skills and knowledge to the youth in SEDYEL through South to South exchange.

Provide one sentence describing your impact/intended impact.

SEDYEL intends to develop a sustainable youth-led sports program for South East District in Botswana through the creation of a district wide league

What impact has your innovation had to date/or what is your intended impact? Exactly who are the beneficiaries?

SEDYEL is a youth-initiative which aims to use sports as a tool for youth development. Its overall goal is to create a sustainable youth led sports program. To date SEDYEL has an on-going League that is involving 94 teams (24 of them being female teams) and approximately 2000 youth in the whole South East District. We are extremely proud of our accomplishments to date and consider this only the beginning of a growing youth-run sports organization that will truly be Botswana’s first. Through the use of sport, SEDYEL has created a fun and healthy environment for in and out of school youths, where they can openly share their skills, information and knowledge in developing one another. Through the Kicking AIDS Out network, SEDYEL has offered appropriate HIV/AIDS education, lifeskills and leadership training directly to the youth and thus has impacted positively to the lives of the youth as many have been reformed from the Juveniles and jails and integrated back to the society.

How many people have you served directly?

SEDYEL offers the opportunity to engage youth in an integrated approach to build skills that they need to protect themselves from HIV infection, but also to break barriers surrounding stigma and discrimination. To date, the project boasts of being one of the largest youth run football league in Botswana, with a registration of 94 teams (24 being female teams) involving approximately over 2000 youth in 5 villages in South East District with 20 of the youth having been trained as Kicking AIDS Out Peer Educators, the first in Botswana and another 30 as Adolescent Sexual Health Educators

How many people have you served indirectly?

SEDYEL has been in full operation since November 2005 and through the Community and School Outreach programs, we have been able to reach approximately 10,000 people indirectly within our District over a period of 2 years and we are in the process of evaluating the impact that has been created so far. This includes Hospice/ Home Based Care homes; Schools and Our communities through Village Outreach Programs and our youth through the Football league clinics.

Please list any other measures reflective of the impact of your innovation?

In the past years, South East District was regarded as one the most dangerous parts of Botswana, with about 7 gangster groups mainly formed by young boys in the communities. Since the creation of the SEDYEL, these gangster groups have been turned into football teams which are now actively participating in the league healthily playing against and with each other, which in the past never happened. These individuals are now motivated, empowered and can now use their skills in community development

What are the main barriers to creating or achieving your impact?

While this is clearly a “youth for youth” initiative and must remain so to be successful, the ongoing support of adult mentors and senior staff from SEDC, as well as support from national government, the community and private sector, is crucial for the project’s success. For example, continued access to office and meeting space is essential and transport for the teams from different villages to play each other in tournaments and from time to time for league organizers to reach the different villages, is also key. SEDC continues to provide some transportation on weekends but these needs to be planned for and requested in advance. Acquisition of the plot of land and the portable office space will enable dedicated access to some office and meeting space for SEDYEL. The porter camp will of course only be an interim solution as it is very small for the number of youth engaged in the project. SEDC and the youth leaders will draw up site development plans which will include office and meeting space, so that external funding can be sought. In addition, a SEDYEL mini-bus to transport the youth will be a priority for fundraising or private sector donations.

How is your initiative financed (or how do you expect your initiative will be financed)?

Our partners (City of Toronto, Commonwealth Games Canada and UK Sport), have pledged to financially support the program for the next 5 years leading to 2011. For sustainability purposes, SEDYEL is looking at possibilities of coming up with diverse funding sources and opportunities locally and internationally and to come up with social enterprise activities in order to help self finance some of the program activities and contribute towards the overall financial sustainability and diversification.

If known, provide information on your finances and organization.

The SEDYEL is run by dedicated volunteers who work tirelessly and endlessly to see that the programs are run successfully with mentorship by South East District Council staff, Commonwealth Games Canada personnel and Mathare Youth Sports Association Youth Development Officers on an annual budget of approximately P350, 000 kindly provided by it's partners and directly used on it's activities. The youth Volunteers are reimbursed for any costs incurred while undertaking SEDYEL activities and so far there are no any revenue that have been generated.

What is the potential demand for your innovation?

The HIV/AIDS scourge siphon off the productive human factor therefore leaving the unproductive population behind consequently impacting adversely in the socio-economic welfare of the country. The unemployment rate which is high especially among the youth, has contributed to the high infection of HIV/AIDS. The family ties and support structures have disintegrated. These has made young girls to turn to survival sex. Faced with this situation, SEDYEL deviced an incentive structure for its volunteer

What are the main barriers to financial sustainability?

The needs and demands keep on shifting as poverty, HIV and AIDS is overpowering the present. Coming up with Fundraising activities locally could not be overemphasized, but has turned out to be tough as the communities of our geographical coverage live below the poverty line. These has led to donor dependency which can only be provided over a given period of time and often depends on the donor interests and focus. In case of a shift then the program will be left vulnerable.

The Story
What is the origin of this innovation? Tell us your story.

With a population of 1.7 million, Botswana had the highest HIV/AIDS prevalence rate in the world in 2006. 38% of adults tested positive, 27% of people aged 15-19 tested positive, and for women aged 15-29 the rate was as high as 50%. The scourge has resultantly left a lot of the productive rural population sick and considerable number of children either infected and/or orphaned. This inevitably depicts the need for a supportive intervention from government, churches, Donor Agencies and even youth led initiatives.

"A long mile journey begins with a step"

In 2001, the South East District Council formed an HIV/AIDS capacity building partnership with the City of Toronto (Canada) supported by the Federation of the Canadian Municipalities (FCM). This partnership involved collaboration on a variety of fronts one being Youth engagement and delivery of HIV/AIDS education/information through sports. Commonwealth Games Association of Canada (CGC) became involved in the partnership by assisting to develop the Ramotswa Youth Sports Association (RYSA) within that particular village beginning 2003. South East District Youth Empowerment League (SEDYEL) was born out of this great initiative in 2005, with UK Sports and Mathare Youth Sports Association coming on board in 2005. T

“SEDYEL was formed to channel the energy and enthusiasm of young people away from the risky behaviors which are the main factors in Botswana’s high incidence of HIV/AIDS.”

Please provide a personal bio. Note this may be used in Changemakers marketing material.

I am 23 year old young man, born and raised in the village of Ramotswa in the Land of the Diamonds and open spaces;Botswana. I am the third in a family of four. An idealist with a lot of dreams and aspirations. As a young HIV/AIDS activist, my passion is my Community and I have always held an avid interest in international development. I work as a Life Skill Educator/Youth Empowerment Worker with the South East District Youth Empowerment League in Botswana where I started as a volunteer in 2005.

How did you hear about this contest and what is your main incentive to participate? (this is confidential)

I heard about this contest at the Next Step Conference in Windhoek, Namibia in September 2007. The Next Step Conference is an International conference that was held in Namibia in September 2007. It brought together a wide range of leading players from the international sport and community development programs that actively contribute to the work of the Sport for Development and Peace International Working Group (SDP IWG).

Affiliation (please list all that apply)

The SEDYEL is an initiative of the South East District Council in Partnership with the City of Toronto, Canada; UK Sport; and the Mathare Youth Sports Association of Kenya. To date, other partners have come on board that includes the Kicking AIDS Out Network members; University of Botswana and the Supreme Sports Council of Africa.