CAMBIOS

“The commitment from millions of stakeholders around the world to see women’s football reach heights is unbelievable”

Women’s football has come a long way! Right now when you talk of the fastest growing sports around the globe, you can’t miss women’s football. A lot of young girls at grassroots have hope of becoming professional players because of the investment various members associations are putting in the women’s game. There has been a lot of change. Change in Spanish means Cambios.

In Europe and other continents, deliberate efforts have been taken to involve the media, engage the fans and other stakeholders. Various experts have been deployed on women football missions and the game has attracted sponsors on board. Having lived in a beautiful country like England, I have watched the game progressively grow with a lot of admiration.

The 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup brought a lot of people together. It wasn’t just about winning Tropies but it was also a platform for changing mindsets and advocacy. Taking an example of Megan Rapinoe, she was the best player of the WWC not just on the field but off it too. She has continued to use her voice to advocate for Inclusion of minority groups of people in football.

Megan Rapinoe during the FIFA Women’s World Cup in 2019, France.

The women’s game I feel is growing so fast that everyone involved in it now should be willing to match it’s fast growing pace, be highly qualified, passionate and continuously educate oneself. A lot of things are happening that weren’t the norm back then in the women’s game.

Just today, Tottenham Women’s Football club coaches Karen Hills and Juan Amoros left the club. Matt beard on the same day had just announced leaving Westham Women’s football club. Both teams have been struggling to collect points in the Barclays FA Women’s Super League. This shows that the standard and demand for results in the women’s game is extremely high. Players, coaches, general managers and everyone now involved in women clubs football is expected to produce top class quality results and give more.

Tottenham Women’s Football Club managers Karen Hills and Juan Amoros

The commitment from millions of stakeholders around the world to see women’s football reach heights is unbelievable. Journalist pages and groups are so many, Sponsorships are coming in . Exciting opportunities now exist for young girls and women to get involved in the game, it is exciting times to be part of women’s football.

I moved to England when I was just 17, things were different then, I was full of dreams and ambitions of my own. I stepped on my first flight for the first time ever then and I remember tears coming out of my eyes as I waved good bye to my mother at the airport for one last time.

I didn’t know how big my life was going to change. From figuring out my way around the airport while learning following direction signs for the first time to figuring out my journeys on the train. Living in England as a 17 year old, with my family back home, plus the expensive international phone calls wasn’t easy. I didn’t have a computer of my own then so I didn’t have constant WiFi or data to call my family, I had to visit an Internet cafe.

I lived in a nice neighbourhood in London figuring out the start of my new chapter as a footballer after attending trials at Charlton women’s club. It was an exciting moment. Playing football in Europe for the first time, it is every young African players dream. Despite the challenges I faced to be able to even play football, I persisted because I wanted all young girls in my country Uganda, where I was born to believe that there is hope of playing football out of the country. Right now there’s hope for young girls to becoming full time professional footballers they want to.

This year our lives have all changed globally with the COVID-19 pandemic disrupting almost all activities and affecting people’s lives. We are learning to live a new life. I must admit I hate that our lives have had to be forcefully changed drastically by a virus but such is life. We have to adapt and move forward. I finally accepted that we have to live a new normal.

The women’s game has suffered massively! Thankfully lot of big organisations have come together to rescue the sport including the FIFA and various other organisations, teams and able individuals be it through grants or organising webinars to find solution and educate stakeholders . I also want to sincerely thank everyone who continues to advocate for our beautiful sport to keep it shining!

As for COVID-19, we shall defeat it! Just yesterday the Sseninde Foundation with which I am the Chief Executive Officer, held its first webinar of 2020 addressing how we can adapt to challenges caused by COVID-19 and positively move forward. The panelist’s got to share a lot of insightful ideas. We have to see women’s sport as an elite sport that deserves equal funding, attention and support to recover out of the effects left by the pandemic and move forward. We have to adapt to the effects left by COVID-19 and move forward.

Sseninde Foundation hosted a women’s football webinar to address Adapting to Changes that have been caused by Women’s Football.

It took me so long to figure out what I am good at or what sport I loved most, but I think now I have hit the nail on the head. Women’s football is my favourite sport. I am obsessed to the extent I rarely miss a single women’s match. Currently a UEFA B Licence coach thanks to the English FA who have made sure they include everyone in education programmes, I want to continue analysing the game and learning more about its technicalities.

Venturing into the administration side of things has also been amazing and my favourite. I enjoy writing strategies, writing implementation plans , figuring out complicated things, solving issues, teaching others on subjects I know and directing roles. As I conclude, I continue to ask that we continue to educate ourselves and be intensional in our efforts to see women’s football get to the top globally and push to remain there or even better.

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?

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!

THE JOURNEY TO INFINITY

“My God it’s so F tiring! I mean does any of you ever feel worn out?”

Where do I start? I mean I have taken so long without writing, only reason is because I wasn’t inspired. I write from the heart and so often I need inspiration to be authentic. I keep wondering, if I never get inspired will I never write? Is there anyone like me anyway?

The past few days have been kind of weird, let me also boldly use COVID19 as an excuse here instead of the real excuse because I mean that’s what everyone can get away with not so? You are fine one day and then the next you’re not! You have a friend today and tomorrow they are leaving you; you work had today and tomorrow you are failing! I mean you ask yourself where is God? (To my fellow strong Christian believers, don’t judge me when I say all this. As if u have never asked where the Lord is when u have gone through trials of your own!)

The journey to achieve anything seems endless, I believe the journey to success is infinity, and I say this because, do u ever feel like you are constantly working hard to achieve things? You achieve them and then you need to do more to achieve more and more and F more? I mean winners of gold medals in the Olympics and World Championships tell you the hardest thing isn’t to win gold, it’s to remain consistent and stay up there to defend your title. 

Many retired athletes who performed at high levels at times struggle to remain relevant, and this isn’t athletes alone its every single one of us in our different fields. How many of you have achieved something and u thought thank God this time I’ve got it and then you realised you need to keep doing more and more and more? My God it’s so F tiring! I mean does any of you ever feel worn out? I know the only way is to keep going and yes, it’s the only option but when should we stop to get a break? When do we stop to get a break and not feel or appear as if we are feeling sorry for ourselves?

The journey to infinity is not for the weak, it’s for anyone willing to give everything, sacrifice everything and I mean everything. I am speechless because sometimes people get tired! Tired of being judged, of giving everything and feel like they are getting absolutely nothing, at times we even question if we have given enough? I feel weak writing this, because deep in my heart I wish for the journey to be filled with Love, unity, friendship, happy tears and filled with strength, maybe then even though the journey is to infinity, at least we are not alone on it, will the pain ever feel less? 

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 THEORY OF LIFE

“Why do we ask others to create positive change in the world when we have the POWER to change it ourselves?

“Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country” – J F. Kennedy.

When I started holding football clinic visits in Uganda around various communities of the country about 7 years ago, it wasn’t the everyday norm, well at least in my opinion. A lot of sacrifices, giving time, long travels, and much more I don’t want to write it all here because it’s long.

I feel I have given all my time and everything else to this beautiful game I love, football both on and off the pitch. It’s crazy how much love one can have for anything; I think sometimes too much love for anything can be exhausting right? But yet again true love stands all trials of life, the thick, the thin etc. When you love something, you fight to keep the relationship.

These last few days, have been somewhat weird, I have had random thoughts on my mind. The other day I came to believe that maybe there’s no ending to the journey of life. To me life feels as though we are moving in circles, it’s rotating endlessly. You reach a high, reach a low, sickness, health, you get rich and then poor again, get friends and lose them all again, and then back again and again till your last day on this real earth. It’s like as if we are spinning in circles and the process continues. There’s no destination, no ending.

So, in my own imaginations, I came up with my own theory of life. The theory is, we are on earth, but each one of us has their own spinning machine which we live in for our entire lifetime. Of course, there’s no getting out of this machine EXCEPT, the day you get out is the day you die. According to my theory, some people decide by themselves to get out of this machine while others are forcefully taken out of them (Of course by the bad people). These spinning machines, some are new, some are broken, some are old, some are at a point where they need support to function.

Good news is everything exists in these spinning machines we live in, all the earthly desires like wealth, food, water, money, family and everything else money can buy and can’t buy. Also, in these spinning machines there’s, anger, laziness, jealousy and every other bad thing this normal world has. We have a lot of choices while we live in the machines.

The flip side is that we are the only drivers ensured to drive each of our spinning machines, only thing we don’t have control of is the day we come to this theoretical world. Otherwise we choose when to set off, when to go, when to increase gears, when to slow down and when to stop. At times here and there, we get the chance to fuel up these machines, we decide what type of fuel to add, either righteous or evil, basically we are in control.

Has any of you realised that, the things that happened to you from the day you were born in the real world thought your lifetime are the same things that come back around and happen to you in your older days? An example is, you need support and care as a baby, you cannot walk, eat by yourself and more. When you reach your older days in life, you cannot walk, you need support and care. So, does this make u believe in my theory of the spinning machine of our life that our life is a spinning machine that goes round and round and then back again endlessly?

In my theoretical world, we have a lot of choices, but need to choose carefully while we live in it because the direction you choose to take your spinning machine and the choices we make while in it determines where we end up in life. Even the good drivers of the spinning machines in this theoretical world will never be perfect, it’s a revolving world where there’s no perfection, we all continue learning every day.

In my theoretical world, life is about choices and there’s a variety to choose from. Everyone has the power to make the decisions they want to take. If my theoretical world is the real world, it means we have the POWER to make the decisions we want to see happen in our lives and others. That means we have the POWER to support others, to make the world a better place, to create equal opportunities for everyone, to support, to learn, to speak, to Love and more. And if that’s the case, why do we wait for other people or someone else to do the work for us if we also have the power to do the same things, we expect others to do for us?

Does the theory make sense to you?

Why do we ask others to create positive change in the world when we have the POWER to change it ourselves?

“Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country” – J F Kennedy.

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.

BREAKING FREE

The past 3 months have been the toughest of my entire life, looking back though, I have no regrets…

Warning: Writing this doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate the work they have done, in fact am grateful for the lessons I have had to forcefully learn myself first-hand.

I Didn’t know how to put this all on paper and I was indeed a bit worried putting it out or rather scared to write (Speak Up). Saying this has helped me get it off my chest and also to feel free, inspire others who are in the same situation that it’s not wrong to speak up and have courage to stand up for what’s right.

These horrible experiences started three months ago, when I decided to temporarily stay in Uganda and help with the take-off process of the new Take flight women’s football Project as Project Manager instead of going back to UK to continue playing football with my new teammates.  The whole point now is, I feel I lost my self, I stopped doing the things I love so that I commit to helping the women’s game at a level that I hadn’t before. I normally used to do things under the Sseninde Foundation & the famous Sseninde Women’s Development Cup to help women in communities and all over to have opportunities to play football.

What hurts me is amidst the confusion of deciding to do this, I was warned by so many experienced figures in the game including my lovely mother against doing it, they all told me it wasn’t a good decision because of the system & also it wasn’t yet the right time, I knew they were all right and I listened to the advice they all gave. I only decided to stay a little longer because I felt like I was letting down what my heart felt was right, I felt I was letting down women, I had worked so hard writing a strategy to help take the game to another level just that one little step forward, my passion to see the women’s game get to a different level pushed me so much to sacrifice everything that I had worked hard for to stay and fully help just in the initial take-off phase of this project. So that when I go back to the UK I don’t feel as bad that I didn’t do my part. I thought at least if I mentored someone and helped navigate them into the whole strategy, at least they could run it smoothly without my presence while I decide to go back and join my teammates who I had started training with briefly before coming back to Uganda.

How it all started:

If you have never worked in this institution you will never understand what am going to write about, or you will think I am a liar. Every day I got surprise after surprise at the level of incompetence, lack of teamwork, the level of laziness, the I don’t care attitude and hatred from most of the secretariat!

I was treated with hatred for being good at my job & for every time I involved others to work with me! I don’t remember ever feeling like that before or receiving so much hatred for doing a great job. In fact, instead the alleged bosses intimidated some of the workers, threatened them and told them not to listen to me. That is true because they came back to me and told me after they had been threatened!

The biggest surprise is the Master who I thought was not good, he turned out to be the one doing the right thing with the wrong people. Don’t ask me who he is because I think you all know if u are into local football.

Some of the young secretariat, are forced to do wrong and not say a thing, in fear to keep their jobs they shut up. No one is allowed to express opinions in the institution except if they are ‘generals’(executive) who are also barely agreeing on anything because there’s no trust amongst them. No one is allowed to speak because when u do, your labelled disrespectful, unappreciative and all sorts of names, actually, others even say u will never manage. Anyone who says anything that’s not favourable is allegedly attacking the institution.

During the CECAFA tournament, the same group did everything to undermine me because they couldn’t take a young lady being 100 times better than them at working hard. Imagine an executive who is meant to be exemplary having a routine of wake up, sit under the tree, go home and then get paid a big sum of allowances! They couldn’t stand a young woman giving her best & being smart every day, I watched big men everyday displaying how incompetent they were and struggling to make simple decisions!

 Shame I was excited to learn from them when I first came on the scene, but I tell you, I couldn’t learn anything from men who are old enough to be my grandfathers and not able to plan, communicate or even work as a team. What institution doesn’t embrace people who are good at their job? They instead pull them down instead of pushing them and supporting them.

Now, before you judge me and call me a lair, not everyone in there is bad, some are in prison and afraid to break free just like I was. The stage is open, go work there for just 3 weeks, experience is the best teacher, you don’t need a month to know how incompetent the system & some of the secretariat are. I will tell you this with an example, as the league is yet to kick off, licencing has been introduced, the one secretariat in charge of licensing put in a requisition to get transport & allowances so as to go visit pitches and he didn’t visit any, instead as I woke up, I saw a tone of complaints at the outcome of decisions that had been made over night from nowhere, I had to drive up my car to Soroti one of the furthest districts from the capital to witness the state of the pitch that was being rejected, good enough I went with him. The pitch was one of the best we have around considering the lack of facilities in our country, there’s even more to this, I may be labelled one with a loose mouth but imagine watching your reputation being damaged because of the incompetence of someone else not doing their jobs because they can’t be asked to do the right thing!

Now am not asking for a penny but imagine working three months or more without pay, or even facilitation for the work you do for the institution! Imagine having to do official work and being asked to use own money which u don’t have because clearly u working for free.

Well I don’t know the consequences of writing this, maybe very bad, but I know I have to pay for it somehow. I am brave, The courage I have had to have to write this I believe I have taken a big step into doing the right thing and also speaking up something I have kept on my heart for the last few weeks while I struggle to break free out of the prison. It felt like it and I feel like I have broken free somehow by Speaking Up. I want to thank my friend ‘A’ for writing me a poem about me the other day that opened up my eyes that am actually in a prison and have to find a way to break free out of it.

Am sad that doing something I love at this big level has to turn out like this! I am very strong minded and feel extremely disappointed for having been pushed to this level for something I really love. I hope before you judge me you try and seek the facts that exist to this story that I cannot put down in this writing. Thank you so much to all who have stayed on this hard journey with me, my incredible dad & mum, my friends who have advised me every single day and watched me do the mistakes and still continue to listen to me, and sadly those I have lost on the way, you have taught me to be tougher and have courage to always tackle issues in case u are away.

Last week I finally went back to doing what I love and that is to continue supporting and encourage women to have their voice, speak up for what right and also motivate them to continue playing football for there’s lots of opportunities now. I miss my smile. I will continue to also help with the project as I have visited all Super league clubs this week to continue sensitising them about the project. I am proud to contribute to the growth and development of women’s football around the world because it’s my passion.

What I have written here doesn’t portray or even compare to how terrible the situation is or has been, but it’s made me stronger and I have learned lots about the system. The past 3 months have been the toughest of my entire life, looking back though, I have no regrets because I have come out a better person with my conscience clear and mentally trying hard to heal.