COBURWAS, an Educate! inspiration

Rebecca is our new Operations and Development Coordinator, focusing on Educate! metrics, fund raising and international organization networking. Last month, in an effort to promote Educate!’s methodology, she traveled to South Africa for an international conference on sports and development. She used COBURWAS, an Educate! partner organization based in Kyangwali Refugee Camp, as her case study. COBURWAS is a leadership and education organization that uses football as a bonding agent and inspiration platform.

Rebecca in South Africa for an international conference where she promoted Educate!’s methodology

At the beginning of the month, I was fortunate enough to travel to Cape Town, South Africa to attend the International Sport and Development Conference: Beyond 2010 at the University of the Western Cape. The striking beauty of the southern-most point of Africa coupled with development I never knew existed on the continent, provided an immense contrast to where my journey started: Kyangwali Refugee Settlement.

After a visit to Kyangwali with the Educate! team in early July, I was struck by my discussions with the members of COBURWAS and inspired by a young Sudanese boy who told me about the role of football in the lives of the youth in the settlement and throughout Africa. As someone who received an athletic scholarship to play volleyball in college, I was moved and instantly related to the story of Benson, who was also able to attend Secondary School because of his football talent.


Benson, founder of COBURWAS, in front of the organization’s new center at Kyangwali refugee camp

Thanks to football, the COBURWAS youth have been able to do amazing things in the camp: it has been a foundation for these young men, a way of bonding and a release from the hardships they face living as refugees. This really hit home when a young Sudanese boy came up to me and asked me what he could do to make his football team as good as COBURWAS. Football is a hook and an accountability mechanism that has allowed the COBURWAS youth to achieve the unthinkable: grow and give back to their community.

The conference kicked off with an address from Wilfried Lemke, the UN Special Advisor on Sport for Development and Peace. He discussed the different ways sport can be used for development, emphasizing the value of monitoring and evaluation. He commended us young researchers, stating that research is an often-overlooked key to development.  


At the conference, I presented  a paper I wrote titled “Football as Means for Social Responsibility: COBURWAS Case Study Measuring the Social Return on Entrepreneurial and Leadership Training in Kyangwali Refugee Settlement.” After listening to Mr. Lemke, I felt honored to present on Educate!’s SROI (Social Return on Investment) methodology; I recognize that the emphasis Educate! places on metrics is unique and commendable. We are truly helping to set the standard in the field of development. 

Note: SROI (Social Return on Investment) is an approach to understanding and managing the impacts of a project, organization or policy by quantifying them into analyzable data.

  Click here to access Rebecca’s presentation