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National partner profile: Kenya

KHSSA

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KHSSA was founded in 2003 with the main aim of creating awareness and inventive strategies to positively combat homelessness and poverty through sports, in particular street soccer. The organisation works with socially disadvantaged and homeless youths, using sports as an entry point for social integration.

KHSSA has projects in eight zones in Nairobi, including the slums and the main landfill in Dandora, where many people works as scavengers. To qualify for inclusion in the project, a person must be aged between 12 and 30 and living in a slum or in the streets. Priority is given to those suffering from substance abuse or HIV/AIDS affected, or those whose life has been affected by HIV/AIDS. The participants are required to attend training sessions regularly.

In Huruma, one of their projects has established a workshop where players make jewellery, footballs, and other items from recycled materials (e.g. bottle tops), and they hope to establish a similar workshop in every zone. Some of their players living on the Dandora landfill support themselves through scavenging rubbish and selling it to middle-men, who then recycle the materials and sell it to factories. KHSSA hope to be able to buy a machine so they can recycle the rubbish themselves and sell it to factories, therefore creating income to develop the football project in that area.

Their projects are supported by the Kenyan government, which allocates community development funds to each area. In addition, the work with children who are under the age of 15 is supported by CARE International in two zones. In those two zones, the sports training sessions for young people are complemented with life skills training. Messages about substance abuse, HIV, and other issues are communicated through football sessions, which are followed by a group discussion. Children are also provided with free lunch.

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Mission statement

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Kenya Homeless Street Soccer Association’s mission is to foster physical, mental, and emotional growth and development of underprivileged youths from an early age. They aim to build young people’s self-esteem, stop substance abuse, help them move into new homes, encourage them to find jobs, education, and training, repair relationships, and where possible become professional coaches, referees, and players.

“Sport in general and street football in particular can create awareness and inventive strategies to positively combat homelessness and poverty.”

Goals for the future

Partnerships

To partner with as many counties as possible through their Social Services Departments

Infrastructure Development

To acquire more resources, including sports facilities and equipment

Social Inclusion

To raise awareness about homelessness to combat the existing social stigma in Kenyan society

Additional information

Football Activities

Two training sessions during the weekend for each group and coaching and refereeing qualifications

Team selection

The team for the Homeless World Cup is selected after tournaments in each of the eight zones held seven months before the Homeless World Cup. From these tournaments, 16 players are selected, and they train together for the following seven months. Their training programme includes also life skills and other opportunities (e.g. coaching and refereeing qualifications). The final eight players are selected on the basis of their overall progress.

Non-football services

Life skills, health education (particularly about HIV/AIDS), and free meals for children

Participants challenges

Extreme poverty, substance abuse, HIV/AIDS infection, broken family links, criminal activity, and a lack of opportunities

Organisation challenges

Strong negative attitudes towards homelessness are common in Kenya

Country challenges

Kenya is one of the most unequal countries in the sub-region in terms of wealth distribution. About 42% of its population live below the poverty line and they are highly vulnerable to environmental, economic, and social crises.

Additionally, Kenya faces humanitarian crisis due to an influx of refugees – there are over 500,000 refugees from Somalia and 30,000 new arrivals from South Sudan (UNICEF).

Homlessness definition

The definition of homelessness used by the KHSSA refers to someone who does not have a shelter, with shelter being defined as a permanent house that has sanitary facilities. This definition includes both those who live on the streets and those who live in slums.

Homelessness Statistics

There are around 250,000 people without homes in Nairobi alone (Street Children).

It is estimated that there are 250,000-300,000 children living and working on the streets of Kenya (IRIN News, 2007). In the slums of Nairobi, people live in illegal temporary structures which can be demolished at any time by the government. They rarely have sanitary facilities, although the standard of dwellings can vary between different slums.

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