Uganda Red Cross, Everton FC use sports therapy to support the psychosocial wellbeing

Uganda Red Cross, Everton FC use sports therapy to support the psychosocial wellbeing

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Coach trainees being supervised by Tackle Africa's Coach Catherine.

Uganda Red Cross, Everton FC use sports therapy to support the psychosocial wellbeing of vulnerable communities in West Nile, Northern Uganda. 

Through their CSR arm (Everton in the Community), Everton FC in March 2018 signed a memorandum of understanding with partners in the West Nile Consortium that included Uganda Red Cross Society and Onduparaka FC to use Sports to support the refugees and hosting communities in West Nile, Northern Uganda.

The Uganda Red Cross supports refugees by providing humanitarian assistance, protection and psychosocial wellbeing. Working with Onduparaka FC, a West Nile prominent local football team, popular and supported by many local people has helped to mobilize for the involvement and participation of the hosting community to be part of the football clinic.

This week, Everton in the Community mobilized resources to start a well packaged week long coaching Clinic for 40 trainees who are being trained as Coaches. These coaches will in turn become community coaches and will bring together the different communities they represent to play football. 

Everton FC's Johnnie Garside giving instructions to players during a session.

Among these trainees are refugees who will bring the refugee communities from different West Nile refugee settlements to play football as part of psychosocial therapy for those affected by effects of war and trauma.

“We thank Everton for the support that has enabled us to bring together all these people. In refugee community spaces, we notice that people who were once busy in their daily routines in their home countries become redundant which in the end capitalizes on their mental wellbeing.. For many, these empty hours make an already difficult situation much harder to thrive. Football is a great game to bring them together and bring keep them active.” Says Isaac Etoku, Uganda Red Cross Psychosocial Support Officer – based in West Nile.

“The trained coaches will form teams in their communities which we will coordinate locally to play football and use it as a therapy for their physical, psychosocial and mental wellbeing. Football brings many people together especially the youth who would have rather been involved in many dubious activities due to being idle. When we engage them in football, we will occupy them for constructive survival.”  Etoku adds.

Premier Skills Coach trainers facilitating a passing session at the Green Light
Stadium, Onduparaka.

Through the Premier Skills coaches, Everton mobilized coaches from British Council Uganda to support the coaching Clinic and these technical people have dedicated time to be in West Nile for the whole week to ensure that the package is delivered to the trainee Coaches. 

“It’ has been an honor for me to see the enthusiasm and passion for learning from the trainee coaches this week. It is our hope that this passion will translate into meaningful action being implemented after the course, working in partnership with the West Nile Consortium Partners. I look forward to the next phase of the project to observe the progress made to help transform refugees and host communities using the power of football.” Said Jonathan Garside, Manager - Everton in the Community.

The training also focuses on using football to tackle community challenges like HIV AIDS, improve child rights and protection and mental health awareness in sports. 


This will help refugees by providing an outlet for people to come together, get active, learn new skills and become part of a team. The benefits of connecting people through sport are various: it promotes bonding, social inclusion, teamwork and discipline; relieves stress and trauma; and builds trust.

Sport is a great theraphy for mental health and general wellbeing


URCS Contacts

Plot 551/555 Rubaga Road.
P.O. Box 494, Kampala Uganda.
Tel:     (256) 414 258701
Tel:     (256) 414 258702


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