THANK YOU

“I take this special opportunity to thank each and everyone of you that cheered us on from a far, we felt loved, supported and heard.”

One of the most challenging but enjoyable and rewarding things I’ve ever done.

Changing perceptions in a country where women are still yet to get equal opportunity to participate in sports , a country that faced war and new to the footballing community. We committed to using football as a tool to educate our administrators, fans, media, players and others. To empower women and girls, unite communities, promote peace, create a platform for all players, coaches, administrators, referees to practice their trade and create a pathway for players into the first active women’s National team, to build a fan base and more! This is only the beginning.

I have had an amazing opportunity to work with a team with which together we achieved incredible steps in the right direction, we have trained over 90 women coaches, 40 women administrators, introduced more women referees to the game, created the first ever women’s national league, re- activated the women’s national team after appointing the first countries women’s football coach. We inspired a generation of young players to play football all in a space of one year and it’s only the beginning. I am very confident as I hand over to this amazing team that through their tremendous effort they have been well equipped and will be able to push forward.

As I close this amazing chapter and prepare to open a new one, I will forever be grateful for the lessons learned, amazing achievements, new friends, memories created, new diehard fans for women’s football in South Sudan, a path created for the future generation of young stars in South Sudan to continue believing and playing football at all levels. I take this special opportunity to thank each and everyone of you that cheered us on from a far, we felt loved, supported and heard.

Thank you so much for everything Unwritten.

What a journey and forever Stars Unite!

AT DUSK HOUR

“We are not in control of choosing when darkness comes, but we must be hopeful to see the new light and hold on at dusk hour.”

“It is said that the darkest hour of the night comes just before the dawn” – Thomas Fuller

Last night, I stared at the darkness after the lights were out,

My mind went blank as I tried to relive it from the thoughts of what transpired while the lights still shined. Exhausted, sleep deprived, a whole weight on the shoulders of none that takes the glory while the light shines but on the one who ensures we get through the darkness of night. Moving very fast, my thoughts were changing at championship pace from one to another, as though they set their sights on an Olympic 100×4 relay medal. Reminiscing the passion that will never leave the heart, the countless seconds that helped turn visions to reality, and the standards that were raised.

It was very dark, thoughts roaming the mind like a restless ghost striving to leave its tomb, as though in a closed room, the heart inside terrified of how it would be able to mend the broken pieces off it! The mind staring at the heart, wondering how the chains that joined the pieces broke. The mind, as silent as a grave yard, it struggled to climb out of the dark endless high walls.

A voice whispering to the heart got louder, where is the strive? Waterfalls running down the stream to the base, dramatically worn away like a rock shelter, thoughts were running down the mind remembering the days when I had the shortest honeymoon. I tried to close the eyes filled with fear, the heart broken and disappointed but knowing sunrise only comes after dusk. We are not in control of choosing when darkness comes, but we must be hopeful to see the new light and hold on at dusk hour.

SSENINDE WOMEN’S FOOTBALL SOIRÉE

“we sharing knowledge in order to continue pushing to make women’s football the best sport for all young girls & women”

Sseninde Foundation is holding a Women’s Football Soirée on Wednesday, November 18, 2020 via a LIVE WEBINAR at 1630 GMT under the theme Adapting to Change. The topic of discussion will be How to Adapt to Changes Caused by COVID-19.

The aim of this webinar is knowledge exchange. Knowledge exchange programmes have helped different teams, organisations & member associations learn more, get exposure and work as a strong unit. Sseninde Foundation recognises the importance of bringing people together so we can continue to push women’s football to heights.

Speakers of the webinar include

Laura Georges Secretary General France Football Federation

Laura Georges is currently the Secretary General for the France Football Federation and a FIFA Legend. We are humbled to have Laura because she has wealth of experience. It will be a great day for knowledge exchange for all participants from across Africa, Europe and round the world.

Onome Ebi Nigeria Super Falcones Defender.

Ebi Onome is Super Falcons defender who has participated in more FIFA World Cup tournaments more than any African player male of female, a record 5 times. Her experiences as a player will help give us an insight of how she’s coped through this pandemic and how she’s stayed positive. It hasn’t been easy for players but in this webinar we are looking for solutions of how we can positively move forward.

Donald Rukare, Chairman National Council of Sports

Donald Rukare, currently the National Council of Sports Chairman in Uganda. Donald is also the current Secretary General of the Uganda Olympic Committee and the former President of the swimming federation. He has a lot of experience throughout his career and we are looking forward to learning from him in areas mainly on how women sports can negotiate and work with government for support going forward.

Ayishatu Zakaria Ali, Joinalist from Ghana

Our moderator for the day is Ayishatu Zakaria Ali, Sports Journalist and strong women’s sport advocate. Part of the International Sport Press Association as a young Reporter, she is also a member of the Sports Writers Association of Ghana and Member of the Women In Football organisation Ghana.

This is a chance for all lovers of women’s football to join our round table as we share ideas together with speakers across africa and Europe. We are all on the same team to adapt to the changes that have been caused by COVID-19 so we sharing knowledge in order to continue pushing to make women’s football the best sport for all young girls & women to have same opportunities to play and push women’s football to fulfil the potential that it has.

To join us Register by Clicking this link – https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_sEHrEex2S7GASV9guV-ANQ

SAFE SPACE

“What is the point of winning it all at the cost of not treating everyone fairly or not including everyone?”

Greetings to you all. When I opened this safe space for me to express my views I thought I would be a regular but it turns out getting inspiration doesn’t come so often, yet I always want to write from the heart.

Today I want to address the issue of Diversity and inclusion. Choosing to write about it doesn’t make me an expert on the issue and doesn’t mean I am a professor of Diversity and inclusion. However, I have had my fair bit of experiences where I felt excluded. Many times we shy away from this topic but it is very important for all of us to educate ourselves and get a better understanding of what diversity and inclusion really means. According to google, diversity means understanding that each individual is unique, and recognizing our individual differences. These can be along the dimensions of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, age, physical abilities, religious beliefs, political beliefs, or other ideologies and Inclusion means the practice or policy of providing equal access to opportunities and resources for people who might otherwise be excluded or marginalized, such as members of other minority groups. Like I said, am not a diversity and inclusion professor.

If you don’t educate yourself or challenge non inclusive behaviour then your part of the problem! I am not always the bold one, and many things have happened to me where I stayed silent! No one should ever stay silent when such incidents happen. This kind of behaviour can happen to anyone from anywhere, be it a work place, gatherings or a football pitch. I have personally faced this kind of behaviour on the pitch before and like I said I choose not to say anything because, at times we feel it’s better to keep the peace of everyone by staying silent and am guilty for that. When we stay silent we don’t help others who would face this behaviour after us. I encourage speaking to a close friend in case you feel you can’t address the issue by yourself but confronting formally is always the best way.

Many times we are all guilty for subconsciously categorising people and having assumptions about who people are yet it’s not exactly the reality, that’s what we call non conscious bias. Always endeavour to find out the reason why people do certain things, that way your not guilty of having assumptions and treating people unfairly or putting them under situations where they will feel left out because when people feel left out, they don’t feel safe, and they may not be able to engage or participate to their full potential at work or on the pitch. Everyone has the right to be treated fairly and with respect regardless of their gender, religion, age and ethnicity. Always, let’s be thoughtful about the language we use when speaking to others. How we talk to each other both verbally and non-verbally matters. Organisations should endeavour to have diversity and inclusion courses in work places so as to educate all staff. Diversity and inclusion officers should also be nominated as part of teams.

We are all individuals with unique traits , respecting someone’s privacy is as important as letting them use their voice , everyone must have the opportunity to use their voice but also people must listen. Including others strengthens reputations, broadens the work pool, people get to share diverse ideas and brings the best out of people. Ensuring diversity and inclusion is everyone’s responsibility. These are unwritten rules – were using our common sense comes into play. Basing on what I went through, it makes you feel like giving up on everything!

knowing that you can be yourself and speak freely can create a happier environment to thrive. It also allows room to do mistakes and learn from them. A diverse and inclusive work environment increases innovation, creativity, diversity of thought and satisfaction.

Winning in life is very good, winning Olympic medals is great and winning football matches and trophies is amazing, but what is the point of winning it all at the cost of not treating everyone fairly or not including everyone?

Sseninde Foundation visits the community, holds a successful hand washing sensitization activity

Yesterday 17th October 2020, Sseninde Foundation held a successful hand washing sensitization activity in Buwagga Gayaza as one of ways to help in the promotion of good hand hygiene and significantly stop the spread of many illnesses — from the common cold to more serious infections and diseases

With the coronavirus being the main topic of discussion at the moment, we developed an idea to sensitise members in various communities about the importance of keeping our hands clean in order to prevent the spread of the virus to others.

We decided to carryout this hand washing sensitization activity to raise awareness of hand hygiene among members of the community because proper hand hygiene is the best way to prevent the spread of germs and viruses.

We went ahead and equipped members of the community with tips on how to encourage their peers to clean their hands. We urged them to live as role models to others who will learn from them and imitate their actions.

We advised them that beyond practicing proper hand hygiene, they can take simple, everyday precautions to help prevent the spread of germs and respiratory viruses in order to reduce risks of getting sick or spreading illness.

As simple as it may seem, we believe proper handwashing remains the most effective way of removing germs and harmful bacteria from our hands and that’s the reason we donated a water jerrycan to the Gayaza community team to support them and enable them have access to clean water, wash their hands in order to stop the spread of Covid-19 and keep good hand hygiene.

NATURING TALENTS

we are very proud of all the players

Sseninde Foundation naturing talents through the Sseninde Women’s Development Cup.

In a bid to inspire girls to play football and nurture their talents, Sseninde Women’s Development Cup tournament was started powered by the Sseninde Foundation with an aim of creating opportunities for both girls and women from the grassroots take part in football and showcase their talents.

More interesting about the tournament is that it involves only players who have never participated in the national leagues or played for the national team, the Uganda Crested Cranes.

The Inaugural Edition was staged on Friday 16th December 2016 at Villa Park in Nsambya and our main target was to empower girls and women who love the game but without opportunities to play.

“The First Edition at Villa Park in 2016 was so amazing as we had a big crowd coming to support the girls and this gave us strength to go on and also showed us that there’s interest for the beautiful game among women and other stakeholders in the football fraternity” Sseninde Jean who is the founder said after the tournament

The Sseninde Women’s Development Football Cup (SWDFC) paved way to both girls and women by creating a platform to nurture and showcase their skills and talents to the rest of the entire nation and Africa at large.

Do you want to know how the Most Valuable Player of the inaugural edition of the Sseninde Women’s development cup looks like now?

It seems like just yesterday we were watching this little magician as an upcoming sensation and a star in the making — but believe it or not, that familiar face is and the then star in the making is definitely all grown up now and she’s raising the national flag high as her progress continues.

Nagadya Catherine was the MVP of the inaugural edition of the Sseninde Women’s Development Cup, a tournament held in 2016.

Nagaddya receives her MVP award in 2016 from Hon. Seninde Minister of State for Primary Education

While some participants and stars of the inaugural edition have decided to leave the spotlight to pursue other careers, Nagadya has since gone on to win hearts of many women football fanatics in the country and has even become more famous than before getting involved in our championship.

For the ultimate nostalgic throwback, we take a look at what our MVP of the inaugural edition of the Sseninde Women’s Development cup is up to now.

We’re very happy, excited and energized to let you know the way abouts of Nagadya Catherine, the most valuable player of the inaugural edition of our championship.

The Katabi born offensive midfielder, is the fourth born child in the family of nine children of Mr. Cyprian Gimei and Ms.Nazziwa Irene.

A student at Uganda Martyrs High School – Lubaga, Nagadya was the Most Valuable Player(MVP) of the inaugural edition of the Sseninde Women’s Development Cup held in 2016.

She has continued to take her football career seriously and she has played for Entebbe Creamland, Princess Diana High School, She Pridihisco, Al’phoenix Golden Girls, Katuuso Community, She Mak, Uganda Martyr’s High School Lubaga (Current Club)

Her resilience, hardwork and self-esteem has seen her rise and become a dependable player for her school, club and country and has also seen her smile to the podium having won a number of accolades to her name as well as earning continuous calls to the Uganda U-17 women football team.

Other girls who are shinning are Fauzia Najjemba who emerged as best midfielder and Nalukenge who is a top striker now for Kawempe Muslim Ladies.

The many trophies they have been able to win include the annual Watoto Wasoka Christmas Camp, Sseninde Women Development Cup, Airtel Rising Stars (U-17), 2019 FUFA Women Cup, FEASSA Cup, U-17 COSAFA championship and the U-17 CECAFA title.

They are all currently part of the Uganda U-17 women football team in preparations to take on Cameroon in a World Cup qualifier.

Nagadya, Najjemba and Nalukenge part of the current Uganda U17 team took part in Edition 1 of the SWFDC

We’re very proud of them and we’re also optimistic that with their continued hard work and breath taking displays, they are destined for greater milestones in the beautiful game of football including permanent slots on the senior Uganda Women football team (Crested Cranes).

LESS DISTINCT

“I can’t see”

Why has everything become unclear? I can’t see!

All of a sudden I can’t see! Everything has became less distinct! I can’t see everything else that is evidently right in front of me. I feel it, I can feel everything. Why is it so divergent?

I can’t comprehend it all! I am strong and I feel it. I know I have the power to defeat it, but I can’t seem to direct the power in the right direction. Who has the answers to all these questions?

Tunnel vision, it’s very very dark, I can’t see! Lord where are you? How loud does one have to pray? I am grateful you have answered me before but please Lord come back, come back because there is no one else. I can’t see!

WHILE IN LOCKDOWN

`The lessons we have learned during Lockdown should continue on with us’

Don’t feel offended by how you end up interpreting my blog. I however like it when different people interpret my blogs however they like because it means my writing is somehow understandable:)

I am not your typical blogger who is perfect. I don’t write all the perfect grammar or spellings and whatever else that’s meant to be in blogs, I write how I feel and I try to make sure at least you the reader understands what I mean. So to all you English professors sirs and madams, think twice before you judge my write up! English is my second language so don’t judge me haha. (Like I said don’t feel offended)

I thank God for we have reached this stage of life amidst this COVID19 crisis, I am thankful to still be alive and okay. RIP to all who have left us and my prayers go out to all who lost their loved ones, I pray the Good Lord up there gives us strength to move on stronger than ever before.

Now that the Lockdown is somewhat being eased in some countries, we should be thankful ourselves for getting to this stage, it’s not easy. My greatest lessons have been me understanding deeper things I necessarily didn’t pay attention to like the economy, politics, journalism and a lot more.

I never knew that one day, the whole world would unite as one to fight against a terrible pandemic that has killed millions! Destroyed the economy, brought sport all over the world to a standstill (Football and the Olympics were my biggest shocks because am obsessed with both athletics & Football). Everything shut down, the whole world came to a stand still!

It changed how every single one of us operated. Numerous challenges were started by different people on social media, not sure what everyone’s feelings where at the start but it sure was a lot of sadness because of the number of deaths reported daily in most countries.

I for one, I watched the news everyday for the first time, I also became an online show host haha, hosting the Weekend Star Buffet live Instagram whose aim is to give players a platform to express themselves, have a chance to speak up and for them to have an opportunity to give their side of the story to so many stories that have been gossip in the past. This has been my favourite activity. This weekend will however be my last episode. I will continue to have the show but not every weekend. I will host it as of when I have the time.

Myself and Uganda Cranes professional footballer Lumala Abdu onset of my weekly show`Star ⭐️ Buffet’ which I hosted on weekends

Another activity I’ve loved is learning to do my hair, I’ve done so many styles with my natural hair that am starting to think of styling all my neighbours hair and people around my community whenever they want.

One of my favourite hairstyles I made during Lockdown

Then comes the baking! I tried baking a cake and even though it was burnt, it turned out to be delicious, this was confirmed by my neighbours who did the tasting duties. Also made Chapatis and tried baking scones too which didn’t turn out so well:)

All in all, I tried to push my limits everyday to continue creating new things. This period however devastating, we got the privilege to have time on our side, well somehow. This was a time for us to continue pushing ourselves to the limits and was nice to see a couple of people doing live Instagrams/Facebooks. TV hosts hosting guests through Skype call etc which was nice to see that everyone tried to continue making things happen however way they could.

I also had lot of indoor workouts, I also created my own mini gym in my house which was cool. Recently I have also started drawing weekly meal plans so that I can attempt eating healthy again haha, as u know it’s not easy but am serious about my goals. I will take it one step at a time.

Thinking of it, we have all learned a lot during this period, (that’s if you bothered learning anything) and the lessons we have learned should continue on with us. That said, we still have many days left to the end of the Lock down, so please continue to stay safe.

STAY SILENT OR ELSE

“Stay silent or else…

I always dreamt of having my own house, years ago when I first moved to London, I had big dreams. I won’t say am complaining now, Infact I am extremely grateful because I never expected to achieve as much as I have at this point but ohh boy it hasn’t come easy!

The sacrifices are endless, the pain is endless, let’s say you must have the mental strength. I love going through it all though because it’s made me that one step ahead. I love it when am in the UK, because the people are extremely dedicated to what they do, they are very smart and there’s this toughness about them. To live in the UK, you must work for what you get. There’s no time for lazy ness and gosh I really do love that about living here because it’s turned me into a tough cookie.

To me the toughest moments are when I am alone, how weird ha? I always dreamt of buying my own house and wanted to enjoy living in it. Jeez, I achieved that and what I was paid for it is living days of looking at the TV screen, phone screen and the walls :). Imagine today when I went to this place about 20miles away from my house to do some kinda sports thing. I was so happy being able to speak to people. It puts a smile on my face and gives me rare energy. I must admit l am at my strongest when l am around people.

So what I learned out of this, sometimes staying silent is sensible but speaking to people is a route for greatness, it’s a route for opportunities, it’s a route for great leaders, it’s a route to being kind and blessing other people and learning new things. No one should ever make you stay silent because there’s no gaining from keeping quiet. Talk to people about how u feel and be honest. You never know where it could lead you.

“Stay silent or else… or else what? Never listen to anyone threatening you to stay silent. That’s an act of people whose aim is to deprive you from becoming great. Have good judgement, make a decision of what’s going to help you be at your best. Never be too scared or busy to speak to anyone because they maybe your key to greatness. Speak Up.

MY INTEGRITY MEAN’T MORE TO ME.

“In the end my integrity meant and means more to me than anything”

“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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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 In the end my integrity meant and means more to me than anything.