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Changing lives through nurturing talents in sports

Betting firm, Betpawa is promoting a countrywide programme aimed at engaging the public and key stakeholders in promoting community development and encouraging sporting culture among youth.

The programme dubbed ‘Dream Maker’ is being undertaken in all 47 counties to sensitise the public, especially the youth, to the great opportunities that exist in sports.

Addressing the press at the Mazembe Sports Grounds in Nakuru, the firm’s Ground Coordinator for the Dream Maker Programme, Mr. Leon Mukono, said the company will continue channelling financial resources towards promoting arts and culture, which are emerging avenues for youth talent development.

Mr. Mukono added that, contrary to what many people may think, sports are not only for leisure but an important tool that can act as a wheel to transform lives in society.

He indicated that sport is a powerful tool for the promotion of inclusion and the development of a positive self-image among youth.

“No matter what kind of sport it is, it is no doubt nowadays a big source of living for many. Sport continues to be a driver of transformative change both for individuals and societies at large, which is why organisations use it to achieve desired change in various facets of life,” Mukono noted.

To crown the highlight of the programme, Betpawa has organised a football tournament that brings together 20 teams from Nakuru County, whose final will be played at the Mazembe Grounds next month.

Mr. Mukono said the countrywide initiative targeting key stakeholders in the sporting sector will see the company spend millions of shillings towards supporting local and mainstream sports through sponsorships and also providing kits, balls, sports equipment, facilitation, and financial support.

“As Betpawa, we believe we can influence positive change among the youth through creating an atmosphere of talent and skill development in sports as well as in the components of the arts and culture. We are particularly motivated by various programmes initiated by the county government of Nakuru, which aim at promoting youth affairs in the areas of sports, culture, and the arts,” he added.

The campaign calls for sportsmen and women, stakeholders, administrators, and the public to believe in the individual and collective power of sports to transform society and, in turn, do more to develop sports in the country.

Mr. Mukono indicated that the move is intended to change the tide in the Kenyan sports industry by inspiring young athletes to aim for the world stage in their respective disciplines. He urged stakeholders to do what they must to improve the sports ecosystem and rallied the public to believe in and support sportsmen whenever they are in the field.

“The initiative seeks to maintain sports development as a national agenda for all stakeholders and leaders in a bid to leverage the potential of strategic public-private partnerships to ensure that we grow Kenya’s sports to befit global standards. Sports is a huge industry, and if well supported, it will experience huge growth and create employment opportunities for the youth,” Mukono said.

Football Kenya Federation Nakuru Branch Chairman, Mr. Francis Oliel, noted that since the sports sector is a significant pillar of Kenyan society that impacts directly on socio-economic growth, no stone should be left unturned in nurturing and ensuring it flourishes.

“Kenya has a proud sporting history. Our sporting greats have reached the pinnacle of success, shattering world records and giving every citizen a reason to smile during competitions on the world stage. Are we as sports stakeholders doing enough to uphold this legacy?” posed, Mr. Oliel.

He added, “We must set the stage for the stars and starlets coming up after the heroes we remember so fondly and vividly, like Wangila, Kipchoge, Kadenge, Tergat, Lorupe, Seraphino, Oliech, Waruinge, Bilali, Ndereba, Mulama, Odumbe, Patrick Njiru, and Jason Dunford, to succeed globally. That is our calling.”

The FKF Branch Chairman said the Dream-Maker programme was inspiring and changing the lives of many youth through sensitization on the dangers of drugs and drug abuse, environmental conservation, and unity in social settings.

He said the programme targets youth with the aim of educating them on what’s important for society as well as themselves, or how to stay focused and guard against indulging in what may ruin their future, such as drug abuse.

“Sports is one of the things that can bring youth together, and so we are riding on such activities as organised football competitions. That’s where we have organised discussions to pass on the intended message. Our focus is youth, and we educate them on matters of drugs and drug abuse, peace, and environmental conservation so that they are productive to society in many ways.

The youth hold the future, and so working towards a better future is more important to a growing nation like Kenya,” Oliel said.

By Jane Ngugi and Dennis Rasto

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