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156 organisations from 25 countries participate in the first online East Africa Cup

Copyrights: East Africa Cup

156 organisations from 25 countries participate in the first online East Africa Cup

Writing on behalf of the East Africa Cup, Svein Olsen highlights the successes of the event this year, despite the restrictions posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Due to COVID 19 restrictions the East Africa Cup 2020 became a digital event! We had an amazing participation which at the final count numbered 156 organizations from 25 countries. The organizations came from four continents – South America, Asia, Africa and Europe! The list of countries; Sierra Leone, Mali, Cameroon, Argentina, Tunisia, Somalia, Puntland, Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Burundi, Rwanda, Eritrea, Norway, Zambia, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Gambia, Germany, UK, Finland, Portugal, India, Namibia, and Spain

We had a total of 12 sessions. The sessions focused most of the topics normally hosted at the East Africa Cup (EAC); networking, child safeguarding/children’s rights, WASH/Covid-19, sexual and gender-based violence, sports for development, how to make a podcast, entrepreneurship, stop poverty, project management, and communication/marketing. All of these topics normally piggyback on a platform of football, volleyball and sitting volleyball – the latter as inclusion is integrated into the EAC.  However, this year we had to dispense with the physical activities and go for the topics themselves on a digital platform. You will notice as we proceed with the various sessions that we are in a learning process. The typical average participation in each session was between 25-35 organizations. And since all the sessions were recorded they will now be accessible for all on the provided link below.

We used Zoom as the platform. Zoom provides so-called “breakout rooms” for smaller discussion groups. We used this function in most of the sessions. Due to General Data Protection Regulations we will not show the breakout room discussion but only the main sessions on the YouTube links.

We have already had some feedback in addition to an “in-house” evaluation. And we do see there are some positives and some challenges.

A major challenge is that the zoom platform lends itself more to communication with organization management/staff and doesn’t provide an attractive platform for youth participation. This is something we will work on. A lot can be done in this regard with regard to how one structures the sessions. So for the coming years we will try to assist the various facilitators – giving them feedback on what works and what doesn’t work.

On the positives there were many:

  • Digital EAC 2020 provided an opportunity for many more organizations to participate.
  • Digital EAC 2020 provides a platform for the follow up of participating organizations throughout the year, thereby addressing the “whole year in the community” in the EAC slogan “One week in Moshi, the whole year in the community”.
  • Some organizations in remote locations (e.g. Somalia/Puntland and Eritrea) reported a sense of feeling “connected” through the participation.
  • The sessions were remarkably well prepared – the quality of the sessions was at a level which made organizations wish to participate. Many thanks to all the facilitators! Some of the facilitators also responded that participation in the event made them feel they were doing something valuable, something meaningful for others.
  • The very fact that the COVID 19 virus was not able to stop the EAC verifies what we have known all along, there is a strong need for a platform such as the EAC on which organizations can share and learn from each other on how to assist youth to become contributors to their own community development!
  • And the fact that EAC 2020 happened also shows the resilience of the EAC! There is an element of remarkable sustainability, which is rooted in the commitment and hearts of all the participants!
  • There was an element of anticipated technical problems, however the excellent technical leadership of certain EAC committed individuals combined to an excellent problem solving and addressing technical challenges as they surfaced. Nearly all participating organizations were able to participate and input to the various discussions as a result                     

We hope to start the planning for East Africa Cup 2021 in September. The lessons learned from Digital EAC 2020 will be included in the planning process. And it is already evident that we will most probably have both platforms for the East Africa Cup in the coming years – both an analog and a digital event! It remains to be seen how we will schedule/structure this… but we do see that COVID 19 has given us a new tool to continue to inspire youth to believe in themselves!

As a final example of what was produced by the organizations participating in the Digital EAC 2020 we include a video made by the Ayiera Initiative based in Nairobi, Kenya. Watch it, enjoy and learn!



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Svein Olsen on behalf of the East Africa Cup


Monday, July 6, 2020 - 17:09