Introducing Baseball5 to children in Bomet County and Kakuma Refugee Camp in Kenya
The South Rockies Baseball5 Club was founded in 2019 and has already won two national championships in 2020 and 2021, helping to promote participation in sport amongst young people in the Bomet region. On the other hand, the Kakuma Baseball5 Club started in May of 2022, with a focus on engaging children under the age of 15 in the Kakuma Refugee Camp.
Participatory approaches implemented
Both the South Rockies Baseball5 Club and Kakuma Baseball5 Club have implemented participatory approaches in their programmes. The South Rockies Club has been active in organizing local tournaments for their members and involving community members through support initiatives. The Kakuma Baseball5 Club, on the other hand, engages the children actively through interactive training sessions and encourages them to develop their leadership, teamwork and problem-solving skills.
Advantages, challenges and opportunities
One of the advantages of the participatory approach in sports development is that it encourages active involvement and ownership, leading to greater sustainability of the programmes. Additionally, it helps to build positive relationships between community members while developing valuable life skills. However, implementing participatory approaches can have its challenges, such as securing funding and resources, and ensuring that the programmes are designed to meet the specific needs of the target population.
Political and institutional support
Political and institutional actors have an essential role to play in supporting participatory approaches in SfD. One way to encourage this is through the provision of funding and resources to enable sports clubs and organizations to implement their programmes effectively. Similarly, policymakers can create policies that promote the use of participatory approaches in sports development.
Common factors and approaches
Several factors go into optimizing the impact of participatory approaches in SfD. These include the need for community involvement, effective communication and collaboration, strategic partnerships with relevant stakeholders, capacity building and training, and continuous monitoring and evaluation to ensure that the programmes remain effective.
Promoting widespread use of participatory approaches
To promote the more widespread use of participatory approaches in SfD, there needs to be a concerted effort by all stakeholders. This includes policymakers, funding agencies, sports clubs and organizations, and communities. Efforts should be made to raise awareness of the benefits of participatory approaches and encourage collaborative decision-making and ownership within communities and organizations.
Sports development is a critical tool in supporting community development, and participatory approaches are essential in ensuring that its impact is sustainable. The establishment of the Kakuma Baseball5 Club in the refugee camp is a testament to the transformative power of sports development. It is essential for policymakers and funding agencies to prioritize the implementation of participatory approaches to SfD, thereby ensuring the welfare of all involved.
About the author
Denis Mitei is a physical education teacher from Kenya and founder of South Rockies Baseball5 Club.