“Many women around the world are actively seeking or desperately waiting for any opportunity to be able to have the chance to play football at any level. They want to get opportunities to do the courses to get better, or even have a chance at joining a team of their dreams”.
I must admit like my last blog, it has also been difficult to come up with the right words to explain exactly what I mean and what I want to tell you, mainly because it’s been about issues that have broken my heart. In this blog I want to explain what exactly I did while in Uganda for the last 5 and half months, to encourage you in whatever capacity you’re in, this includes telling you the truth about what happened behind the scenes of my day to day life, the challenges, the lessons learned and a way forward.
When I came back to Uganda in August, my goal was to successfully run the 4th Edition of Sseninde Women’s Development Cup which was amazing thanks to the incredible fans, my Sseninde Foundation team & the guests that made the day colourful for the under privileged women who always take part in our community events.
The other reason I actually decided to extend my 3week stay longer was to help steer the Take Flight women’s football Project which I had written and with lots of convincing talks back and forth we had together with the President, Vice presidents of the federation and CEO, agreed on a number of things in the strategy that would help take the women’s game to the next level. Leaving all the details in between of what exactly happened to bring this project to life (You can get some these details in my previous blog, ’Breaking Free’) and the changes that happened, I don’t regret this decision.
In between the months I was humbled to be selected by CECEFA to work as a General Coordinator for 3 back to back tournaments which included the under 20 boys challenge cup in Uganda, Senior Challenge Women Cup in Tanzania and the Men’s Senior Challenge Cup in Uganda. This was one of the most amazing experiences because I did well and also, I got to learn a lot of amazing lessons. This was one of the best things that happened in my long stay. I want young girls to learn that there are no limitations to what you can do as a player, administrator or anything you want to try and became.
The biggest challenge for me was dealing with the federation and trying to do the right thing with the take flight project and then realising that almost all of the secretariat in the federation were not supportive, but a few. Most did not want to do the right thing. Realising the level of incompetence of most of the members in the institution was also was a big shock to me.
I love the women’s game so much and want to see it develop to greater heights, so I don’t want to accept being intimidated doing the wrong thing, lying to people that am doing one thing yet am doing the other, or be selfish and unsupportive just because I want to see things happen.
In the end, had to make a choice of either continue suffocating in the institution and do the wrong thing as well or stand by what I believe in, not jeopardise my integrity and walk away.
Now this still hurts and personally I want to say sorry to a number of women’s football stakeholder’s who had hope in this project. Personally, as a project manager, I had laid out a sustainable plan for the short 2 years I was to help steer this amazing initiative in the pilot phase, but all crashed with no support! I was hurt because when u create a plan with big goals u want to see it come to life, one of the biggest objectives which was transitioning the league to a clear tier format system was started which I believe is only going to bring positive results for all players, contributors and lovers of the women’s game in the long run so at least am saticified for managing to push for the hardest objective to happen.
Just to let you know, like I explained in my previous blog, I had given up my career for a few months to help with all these initiatives, am now going back to London to continue my amazing journey. Am sad I didn’t get the chance to continue but then am only still in my mid 20s and I promise you, am patient and the right time is going to come around again. I will have the opportunity again and hopefully the system will have gotten a little better and will be more honest and also give chance for many workers to do the right thing with no fear to express themselves.
Moving forward and on a positive note, I want to motivate you all that my story maybe somewhat weird, unbelievable and controversial, but this is what happens in real life. You have to remain stronger and stand firm in what u believe in. Most of the time in life you will love something so much that you end up giving up the things that mean a lot to you in order to make ends meet for you or others but always stand firm so that u don’t question your integrity in the process.
This doesn’t mean you are perfect, but it means as long as u can defend your actions and what you believe in, then don’t be forced to do the wrong thing by someone just because they are in a position of power to make decisions that will work in your favour.
To the young girls, boys, men and women out there, Life is what we make it. Constantly push your limits and don’t be afraid to challenge yourself by doing something new that has never been done before. Lots of people are constantly threatened by your abilities and I tell you lots will try to use their power to make sure u don’t go up just like I was treated at one point in these few months by the same people in the institution but my say is you will always come out on the other side stronger and better.
I learned a lot of lessons about African cultures and ways, this doesn’t mean I didn’t know because I was born here but I didn’t know as an adult. I want to thank all Ugandans who have been supportive in this period I have been here, the general secretary of CECAFA region for believing in me, my incredible friends for the advise, my fans, you have kept me going, my Sseninde Foundation team u have been family away from family, and my amazing parents & siblings who have always done an amazing job to motivate me amidst adversity and everyone else, your support meant the world.
One thing that I believe will take us far is being aggressive when pursuing our endeavours, being fearless while you’re in a period of transition while pursuing your dreams which isn’t easy but only fighters win, do whatever it takes to fight the powerful forces that could divert you from your goals and with this I want to continue emphasising this to the little girls and boys with big dreams, never be afraid to speak up loud your truth and stand for the truth of what you believe in.
Your integrity means more than suffocating while doing something in life that u don’t want. Because the point of this short life is to be happy and do what we want and believe is right. My dream is to see millions of women & men in Uganda, Africa and around the world get equal opportunities to be able to play football, do courses and gain knowledge of subjects they love to get better at and being in top working positions because they deserve them not because they have to do something in return to get them. I end this blog with a lot of positivity and hope that greater things are yet to come, it’s a matter of time.
Note: I strongly will continue to play a strong supportive role whenever needed by anyone and always feel free to contact me if you need help on anything at all.
In the end my integrity meant and means more to me than anything.