The timing of the recent palpitating rains could have been any better with The Aliguma Foundation (AF) set to roll out Phase 2 of the Acholi Quarters Playground upgrade in the Kireka-Banda Zone.
The ground is being given a major lift from the dangerously uneven rocky, muddy and dusty playing surface - depending on the particular weather patterns – to an acceptable plateau-like all-weather fully grass-grown multi-purpose sports pitch, thanks to the UEFA Foundation For Children through its Sports for Resilience and Empowerment Project (SREP).
Encompassing: The youth were happy to get their hands dirty when grass-planting started.
In November 2020, the Foundation was announced among the 16 new children’s projects approved in Africa by the UEFA for a SREP.
And despite the Covid-19 pandemic, the works have been moving on steadily and gradually this week under strict supervision with an aim to transform the vulnerable Acholi Quarters community through sports.
The project that targets girls, boys, women and other caregivers (including refugees and those with disabilities) living in Acholi Quarters gave another cheer to the community with the whole playing surface area re-levelled with powerful machinery including excavators and graders.
Work Mode: The grader levelling the pitch at Acholi Quarters Ground in Kireka-Banda.
Fufa Appeals Committee Member Sabiiti Muwanga, who is the former president of Uganda Sports Press Association (USPA) and also an avid farmer, lent his wealth of knowledge to the exercise for the entire three days.
“The rains have done us well,” said Muwanga.
“The grass planting has been flawless and the youth have been actively involved. Depending on how they continuously water the pitch in the morning and evening, the ground will be ready for use between four and six months.”
Hallmark: Former USPA President Sabiiti Muwanga (L) and the Foundation's CEO Ritah Aliguma at the pitch's hallmark stone located at the stand area.
Muwanga added; “We are very happy with the community. They were cooperative and they really showed its their property. We don’t expect them to misuse it. This is going to be a hub of many talents across different sports disciplines.”
Home of Talent
And the youthful team in Acholi Quarters led by their leader Brian Onen was equally delighted by the progress of the project that means much more than anything to their daily lives.
“This is our home. This is something we have not seen before. We are overly excited. We are going to make sure that the grass comes out well,” chipped in Onen.
Aside sporting activities for the youth, the other primary goal of the sports facility equipped with basic training facilities is to enable women and other caregivers in the area to benefit from the facility and gain skills to start and manage their own businesses thus allowing them to take care of themselves and their families sustainably.
Scenic View: The casual labourers and children of the area enjoy a view of Kampala City from the ground.
The bigger picture will yield results in the form of protecting over 2,500 children from exploitation and enabling them to go to school and forthwith delay marriage until the right time as well as promote gender equality in Acholi Quarters through equal opportunities.
With Second Phase literally done, the Foundation will be looking to embark on the Third Phase in earnest by constructing user-friendly toilets and up-to-scratch changing rooms at the facility.
The United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), the UN Refugee Agency, are the Foundation’s partners and they offered casual labourers’ tools for improving the playing conditions of the pitch in Acholi Quarters.
ABOUT THE UEFA SREP PROJECT
UEFA Foundation For Children earmarked 16 projects from 15 African countries. In total they’re 55 projects world over with others from Europe, Asia, North & South America, as well as Oceania. The other African countries picked out are Kenya, Tanzania, South Sudan Democratic Republic of Congo, Congo, Ivory Coast, Mali, Morocco, Mozambique, Senegal, Central African Republic, Chad, Lesotho and South Africa who have two projects.
Supervisors: Uspa's former president Sabiiti Muwanga (L) lent his knowledge to the foundation during Phase 2 of the pitch upgrade.
The 2020/21 budget of €4,812,021 ($6,409,154.83 or UGX 21 billion) was allocated to new projects or an extension of existing projects. to embark on the Third Phase in earnest by constructing user-friendly toilets and up-to-scratch changing rooms at the facility.