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What remains after the fun and games? Part 1

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In keeping with New Year’s resolutions and with an eye on the upcoming year, we would like to take a closer look at the impact of Jambo Bukoba projects in Tanzania.
Up to now, we have done this on a quantitative level with the help of facts and figures. Turning our attention to the qualitative level, we gathered concrete feedback from children and young people so that we can further improve our pedagogical approach. We have been working for children and young people in Tanzania for 12 years. Since that time, 516,413 children have participated in our Life Skills games; 55 Bonanzas have been held and 63 school construction projects completed. We are very proud to have achieved this from 2008 to 2020.
But while quantity is important, what truly matters is quality.

What stays with children and young people after the Games? How do their future lives develop?

This is what we want to investigate. The qualitative interviews that our Tanzanian colleague Kafedha Rwezaura from Jambo for Development conducted with several former participants in summer 2020 are a starting point. The goal of the interviews was to get a sense of the impact these games and the workshops have had on young people. As the analysis of the interviews brought many exciting results to light, we will publish them gradually in a three-part series.
The Perception of Jambo Bukoba

A total of 11 boys and girls were interviewed. Nine of them played the Life Skills Games. Those who participated in the games found them easy to learn and play. Teachers use the games as icebreakers and to lighten the mood. All participants perceive Jambo Bukoba as an organization committed to sports and games in primary schools. One participant said that Jambo Bukoba (JB) is known everywhere in the Kagera region. Even young children know JB because they are familiar with the organization’s theme song. It is regularly played on local radio stations. You can listen to it here as well. Aside from games and sports, participants picked out water tanks, classrooms and toilets as special aspects of JB’s work.

„Life Skills Games“ is a popular elective.

All nine participants* played the Life Skills Games voluntarily. However, it is worth mentioning that all schools have so-called elective subjects. One of these subjects is Life Skills Games. Children prefer to choose subjects with sports and games activities, because they can be outdoors. “Most children love to play. That’s why I participated in the Jambo Bukoba Games Club and played the games there,” said Aneth Marton from Ngara, a past pupil of Kamuyungu Primary School.
The most popular games
Participants* couldn’t remember the exact names of the games, but they were able to describe them. According to their descriptions, they following games stuck in their minds: Ten Passes, Robot, Stick Relay, Football (with the crucial rule that girls must score the goal), Sack Race, Tug of War, and Lake Shore.
Gender Roles in Tanzania
Tanzania is characterized by a strict culture of traditional gender roles. Girls are often disadvantaged as a result. Natural interaction between the two sexes on an equal footing is rarely, if ever, encouraged. For this reason, many JB games aim to emphasize equality between boys and girls. Girls, in particular, should develop greater self-confidence. Boys, on the other hand, should gain a more positive perspective of the opposite sex. Even though this playful approach helps, it’s not easy to teach these values.

Holding the hand of the opposite sex takes some effort

Girls and boys alike reported feeling uncomfortable when holding the hand of the opposite sex as this is seen in society as a sign of a romantic relationship. However, the children do not want this act to have such associations. So, holding hands requires a big effort from everyone. Over time, the children learned that girls and boys can work together and that the exchange is something quite natural. The freer interaction with the opposite sex, which is internalized through mere repetition of the games, became evident in other life situations. In discussions and projects, the children were more at ease with each other.
To be continued…
This is the end of the first part and we hope you will stay with us for the rest of our report. In a week we will publish the next part with more findings. This time we will look at the behaviour of the teachers. Initially, they are trained by us to show the games to the children. Kafedha asks young people if the Life Skills Games have made a difference to the teachers and their way of teaching.
Be curious and check us out on Facebook. We look forward to your feedback and suggestions.
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