PLAYING FOR AWARENESS
On January 27, 2007 Kayunga district welcomed more than 400 youth in Nazigo hosting the 2nd Annual Uganda Co-operative Alliance “Playing for Awareness” Sport & Skills Tournament aimed at raising awareness to HIV/AIDS, Gender, Vocational Training and Environmental issues. Commencing at 9:00am youth from across Kayunga district gathered in Nazigo, to take part in an interactive day of awareness and fun filled activities. Football and netball teams, consisting of over a hundred athletes participated in the tournament, not only to win goats, t-shirts or the prized bull, but also to bring awareness to hundreds of spectators about HIV/AIDS, gender and environmental issues and craftsmanship within their communities.
The “Playing for Awareness” tournament, made possible through the Uganda Cooperative Alliance’s growing YEECO (Youth Economic Empowerment through Co-operatives) program, provided free registration, sports equipment, officiating and prizes to all athletes. In addition, numerous organizations were present to provide education and raise awareness to all participants, young and old alike.
The Programme for the Promotion of Employment Oriented Vocational and Technical Education and Training (PEVOT) in cooperation with the Ministry of Education and Sports (MoES) and the PCY (Promotion for Children and Youth) Youth Truck operated by DSW (German Foundation for World Population) in cooperation with the Ministry of Gender and Labour offered hands-on experience and a mid-afternoon skill competition involving a variety of activities including different craft skills. By running these activities PEVOT and MoES motivated young people to discover basic craft skills that they might have already acquired throughout their life without knowing about.
During morning hours the Youth experienced and tested their skills, they tried out different activities like hammering nails straight-line into wood, mixing colours for dying, connecting a battery with a bulb, connecting plumbing pipes, stitching on buttons, sawing wood, drilling holes into wood, weaving braids, cutting out leather patterns, pealing Matoke, weaving banana fibre and cutting holes in metal cans. All activities were linked to special occupations and educative material was provided for demonstrating, how the individual activities are linked to the respective occupations and what they are used for. The Youth truck staff helped the Youth in the accurate use of tools and facilitated hands-on.
During the early afternoon PEVOT and the Youth truck run a basic skills competition: six groups, each consisting of 4 young people, competed against each other in 3 activities of the above mentioned. Not only the fastest time for fulfilment was awarded but also the quality of the work was evaluated. The winners were awarded with PEVOT T-Shirts “I am proud to be a craftsman” and caps were rewarding all participants’ involvement.
Those basic and easy designed activities with daily life relevance help to let the Youth experience what craftsmanship is about: producing something feasible with their own special skills and knowledge that will enable them to sustain their lives. Although the activities chosen seemed easy in the first place, the Youth discovered that proper skills are needed to overcome challenges that will appear once a while. The activities aimed at motivating the Youth to discover craftsmanship as a proper and accepted alternative for accessing the World of Work.