Children during a Watoto Wasoka football fun event

In 2009, the Watoto Wasoka organization was founded in Uganda.

The bench mark was firmly embedded upon the beautiful game – football, but for the youth especially in impoverished slums.

The organization fronted football as a vehicle for social change in the lives of slum children in Uganda as boldly asserted by their vision and mission.

Changing lives of slum children in Uganda, one game at a time.

Watoto Wasoka Vision Statement

Mobilize, educate and empower slum children through football

Watota Wasoka Mission Statement
Young goalkeeper Adrian Mukwanga in action during a slum’s football tournament

This would be targeted at changing lives through structured football programmes, one game at a time by creating purposeful opportunities for play and learning, in a safe environment, for slum children in Uganda.

Watota Wasoka has therefore organized the biggest football events for youth in Uganda, East Africa (if not Africa) with the latest slums derby luring as many as 1500 kids, whilst the 2019 Christmas cup was attended by 2700 boys and girls all over Uganda.

Football skills as ball control, passing, dribbling, shooting, heading, positional discipline and others are developed in the slums football competitions Credit: KAWOWO SPORTS
A competitive football game during young kids slums’ match Credit: KAWOWO SPORTS

The epitome of the Watoto Wasoka work with slum kids in Uganda (Football made in slums) was being recognized at the FIFA Diversity Awards in Milan city, Italy.

Besides the Slums Derby and season ending Christmas Cup, Watoto Wasoka’s rich menu also has the Sparta 09 teams, girls’ football, primary school league and the Football 4 Wash.

Everton Uganda U15 Boys celebrate winning the 2019 – 2020 Watoto Christmas Cup

COVID-19 Pandemic effects:

The global Coronavirus pandemic that started late 2019 todate adversely affected the operations of the Watoto Wasoka organization.

In 2020, Children in Uganda, and all over the world, were challenged to the limits; emotionally, physically and psychologically as they could neither play nor attend school for a great part of the year because of the Coronavirus pandemic. We continue to prioritize the safety of everyone as we slowly resume our activities. We send out our thoughts to everyone, and we hope you stay safe and strong.

Francis Mugoya, Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Watoto Wasoka
Francis Mugoya hands over a certificate

Regardless of the pandemic, the Football 4 Wash continued in schools and communities.

In 20 different schools, a total of 38 teachers were trained (40 % female).

For the communities, 66 community coaches were trained (28 % female) in the 33 communities of Kampala and Wakiso.

Encouraging enough, all the 76 sessions conducted were led by children, focused on community wash and hand-washing.

Instructor Stone Kyambadde during the FUFA Beginners’ coaching course in the practical session

Relief:

With support from Common Goal, 102 coaches benefited with food supplies, soap and cash hand-outs; 66 households got packs of food supplies, masks and soap while 617 kids were reached with food packs, masks and educational hand-outs.

The highs:

A total of 74 coaches graduated from the FUFA Beginners’ coaching course, 36 schools registered for the Primary Schools’ League (unfortunately halted due to the COVID-19 pandemic) and the organization shifted to new larger offices in Lungujja, Kampala.

This new office has created space for more education, football and character development for football kids.

Also, there has been a new strategy on girls’ football with the girls’ team reinstated and gender mainstreaming.

Gender mainstreaming session on toilet hygiene

Values:

Watoto Wasoka brand is built on four values of People, Integrity, Respect and Fun.

Under people; every participant and team member ought to develop with integrity fronted to ensure honesty with participants and partners.

Respect revolves around fairness, generous and mutual respect for everyone.

Fun and enjoyment from what everyone does.

A session being led by a child during a Watoto Wasoka program

2021-2023 Strategy:

For the next three years (2021-2023), Watoto Wasoka’s strategic plan is embedded along three focal areas of programmes, organizational development as well as marketing and fundraising.

The programmes will be meant to organize relevant, evidence-based and regular football for development activities that offer development opportunities for each beneficiary and community.

Under organizational development, the purpose is to build a support of people and systems that sustain the organizational mandate today and beyond.

For marketing and fundraising, the goal is to build an attractive, transparent and sustainable brand and an organization that offers the best value for every penny received.

Local coaches share notes and ideas during a training program at Watoto Wasoka (Credit: TRA Photography)

Accountability:

For any organization, its growth and prosperity has always been embedded along key elements as accountability and transparency.

True to the billing, the books of accounts have been well presented with the right checks and balances.

In 2020 alone, Watoto Wasoka total revenue was totalled at EUR 39,670 (lower than 2019’s EUR 58,113 because of the COVID-19 pandemic).

Programmes investment cost the lion’s share of EUR 17,313 (43.6%), Operational cost investment at EUR 16,507 (41.7%) and the balance carried forward at EUR 5,850 (14.7 %).

Watoto Wasoka Christmas Camp 2019

Of course, it has been a collective team effort for various stake holders that have made Watoto Wasoka shine brightest.

The key partners are; FIFA Foundation, Common Goal, Coaches Across Continents, The Lens Foundation, VIVA Con Agua, Street Football World, Uganda Youth Football Association (UYFA), Richard Tumusiime Apuuli photography, volunteers, coaches as well as the families and friends.

Smiles from children during a Watoto Wasoka championship

Key attribute: Watoto Wasoka Gratitude Report 2020

David Isabirye is a senior staff writer for Kawowo Sports where he covers most of the major events.

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