The U.S Embassy has engaged some Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) living in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) in a three-month soccer buddy project as a tool for reorientation, leadership and civic duties training.
U.S Embassy’s Deputy Chief of Mission, Ms Kathleen FlitzGibbon, made this known during the closing ceremony of the Soccer Academy for Internally Displaced Persons IDPs at the Kuchin Goro IDPs Camp, a suburb of the FCT Abuja, Nigeria’s capital.
She explained that the leadership programme aims at empowering local community leadership to be self reliant, responsible and accountable.
FlitzGibbon said that the Sports academy was part of the humanitarian activities of the U.S Embassy in Nigeria with the aim to fostering unity and among displaced persons.
“We love sports and have seen that sport is a unifying activity for people and it is an avenue to reach out to the youths and get everybody involved in a positive activity. When you play sport there is no time for crimes.
The Deputy Chief of Mission also noted that making people accountable and responsible to their communities makes the initiative more sustainable. “We do a lot for IDPs in terms of humanitarian assistance but this type of programme means a lot when you see kids out there thinking of other things besides their situation.
We actually have invested about 20,000 dollars to 25, 000 dollars in this programme one last year and another this year with.
With little money, you can actually do a lot in Nigeria, that is not much in terms of our overall humanitarian budget but look at the lives it has touched, my call to other people is to also think about affecting lives which goes a long way in keeping good citizens.
FlitzGibbon said the American government humanitarian assistance is priority. “ the U.S Embassy has been working with the Nigerian government and a lot of implementing partners in the North to find out what the need is, what gaps needs to be filled. We come in with programme through partnership with the government and then implement through NGOs because we believe NGOs are the way to build capacities for future response’’, she said.
Responding on behalf of the Internally Displaced Persons IDPs, Vice Chairman, of the Camp Mr. Usman Adamu, commended the U.S government for support given to them.
“This is one of the best supports given to us in the Camp, it has made people happy, the Parents are happy and the Children are also happy because, things like this will make us forget about our predicament and build us. I also appreciate the Nigerian, German Government, United Nations, and other African Embassies, religious groups, NGOs, and individuals for their continuous support to alleviating our plights.
Sixty out of about Four Hundred and twenty children on the Camp participated in the Soccer Academy which included 40 males and 20 females.
The sport academy was closed with a friendly football match between Teevo Football Club and Unistar Foot ball Club teams of the Kuchingoro IDP Camp in the FCT.