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August 12, 2021

Age: 21
Favorite sports: badminton and football; enjoys watching woodball
Favorite athlete: Juan Mata
Favorite Team: Manchester United

Friends describe him as: a “Blessing from God”

Residing in the Busia Municipality, which has one of the youngest populations in the world (nearly 47% under the age of 15), Ferdnand is passionate about using football to to instill positive life skills for young people in and out of school. As a volunteer community impact coach with Coaches Across Continents, he is working to build knowledge and inspire positive attitudes, practices, behaviors and skills amongst deprived, excluded and vulnerable populations.

Public health and gender equality are among the issues he cares about the most and his focus is largely on advancing community, maternal health and child health, while decreasing the teenage pregnancy and early marriage.

1. What does it mean to you to be selected for the inaugural class of the Beyond Sport Youth Advisory Board (BSYAB)?

Arthur C. Clarke said that the only way to discover the limits of the possible is to go beyond them into the impossible.

At the beginning when I applied, this seemed to be impossible. I am delightedly happy to be a part of the inaugural class of the Beyond sport Youth Advisory Board.

2. Over the two years, what is the primary thing you are most looking forward to getting out of the experience? What do you want to learn and teach?

According to a Native American proverb, “we do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children”. This prompts me to consider the future and not focus on the present or on the past. Instead of living just for today and gratifying our own immediate needs, we should think about how our current actions will affect the future generations.

The BSYAB will enable peer-to-peer interaction as one means of promoting participatory processes that empower people to improve their lives. It shall foster mutual learning, not only of explicit verbalized ideas, but also tacit knowledge embedded in practice. Being on the board to share my skills and ideas with other individuals will allow me to build better space for all in need of that particular environment.

I am looking forward to becoming a group of friends, and building ideas to create safe spaces for the betterment of youth and all those in sports.

3. Beyond Sport believes that sport for social change is more than just bringing people together to bond and bridge divides through play, it’s about using it as a platform of learning and development. When used purposefully, and with intention, it can be a powerful pathway to effective solutions to the most complex social issue of our time.

What does using “sport with intention” mean to you?

It’s a determination to influence people’s lives and promote a culture of teamwork to achieve a common goal.

4. Who do you think is getting it right in the world of social change and why?

Marcus Rashford. Despite all the challenges of racism he faces, he has continued helping and advocating for vulnerable populations.

5. How and why did you get involved with Coaches Across Continents (CAC)?

When I started volunteering at Youth Environment Service, a CAC partner, I was introduced to the CAC curriculum. I went through the coaching course for a week and trained on the different games for social change. I am mentoring both boys and girls between 6 and 17 years old.

6. Can you speak more about the football3 methodology you use with them and how its helping to make progress on the issues?

Football3 is a unique way of playing football that is changing lives across the world. It is based on the principle that the basic values of fair play, gender equality, teamwork and respect are just as important as football skills. Football3 has helped create social behaviour change among the participants; behaviours like authenticity, patience, communication skills, empathy, conflict resolution and facilitation since everyone is trained to be a leader.

7. You identified community, maternal and child health, as well as empowering girls as your primary areas of focus. What specifically drove you to take up these issues?

This is because these are the set of people, mainly oppressed in society by the different agents including the government. They are never given opportunity to speak up on ideas or about issues affecting them in society. This drove me to take up this cause and become a voice for the voiceless.

8. You also said that environmental issues are important to you. Why, and how are you also addressing them in Uganda?

I do care about promoting water and sanitation, hygiene (WASH) best practices. And I also care about indoor air pollution caused by using wood charcoal, which is the common means of cooking in my community. It is the single largest environmental risk factor for female mortality and the leading killer of children under the age of five in Uganda.

Also, with support from Youth Environment Service, I have embarked on community sensitization on tree planting. We have been able to distribute over 10,000 fruit, scrub and timber tree seedlings to farmers in Busia District and trained them on the modern tree planting and management practices. We also sensitized the population, especially the urban population, on the dangers of poor waste disposal - especially plastics - and trained them on how to recycle plastics into other useful products like pavers.

9. What are your professional goals?

To build a better world for tomorrow.

10. As you progress in life and your career, what legacy you hope to leave on your peers, family and community?

To become a role model in society that I have been able to change many negative behaviours in my community and built a stone on the better space for all those in sports.

11. What do you like to do in your free time?

I enjoy telling stories with adolescents, because at this age, they share with you whatever they are going through in the daily life especially whatever is affecting them domestically. I also watch football games at the different local football grounds.

12. Do you have a personal motto?

Together as a team we can.

Meet all eight of the inaugural Beyond Sport Youth Advisory Board members