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Students fighting drug use through sports

Sunshine Secondary School emerged overall winners during the Students’ Campaign Against Drugs annual sports day in Nairobi.

The organisation, Scad, has since 2007 held the championship in a bid to fight the prevalence of substance abuse among students.

Scad’s programme assistant Daniel Ayebola said they aim to help young people to become productive members of society by shunning vices such as drug abuse.

“Young people are very impressionable, and planning constructive events such as this would take up their free time and keep them away from bad of influence,” said Ayebola.

At the championship held at Utalii sports ground, 11 schools – four boys’ and four girls’ schools as well as three mixed took part. Sunshine won the boys’ football and basketball titles.

Spice up

“We use a different format in the games from what the students are used to spice up things. In football, teams compete in a seven-a-side challenge while in basketball competition is based on a three-on-three mode. The turnout was great, and the games were successful,” said Scad programmes officer William Ntakuka.

In boys’ football, Juja Senior School was second after losing to Sunshine in the final but produced the Most Valuable Player (MVP) Brian Twarah. Kiambu High was named the most disciplined team.

In the girls’ category, Moi Girls Isinya clinched the title after beating Noonkopir Girls in the final. Maryhill Girls High School’s Philistiner Suleiman was the MVP. Nembu Girls won the most disciplined team award.

In basketball, Parklands Boys Secondary School was second behind Sunshine, and also produced the MVP, Victor Mumo. Juja Senior School was the most disciplined team.

Maryhill Girls Secondary School ruled the day in the girls’ category by beating Juja in the final. The school’s Rhoda Waruguru was named MVP. Moi Girls Isinya was the most disciplined team.

“We funded the championship, but the organisation was done by Scad clubs at their various schools. This helped students to take responsibility and their putting in extra effort ensured the success of the games,” said Ntakuka.

Risk of injuries

This year, teams only competed in football and basketball, while Crazy Olympics were excluded.

“Previously we had rugby and swimming, which we scrapped. Swimming was removed because not everyone could afford costumes and for the sake of equality we did away with it. As for rugby, the risk of injuries was very high and organisers hope to revive it in a less combative form,” said Ayebola.

Scad has worked with over 40 schools in Nairobi and 100 nationally.

“Some of our most active clubs are Precious Blood Riruta, Ngara Girls, Lenana School, Upperhill. The universities we are involved with are University of Nairobi, Daystar and St Pauls,” said Ntakuka.

Players trained

He said each school selects three representatives to lead the others in Scad programmes. They are trained and equipped with the required skills.

“We have a Scad Charter that includes a calendar of events is given to all teams. It includes the calendar of events. Representatives from each school are required to note down the activities that have been done. The most active school is considered the best performer,” said Ntakuka.

In spite of the success of the sports programme, Ntakuka said Scad faces a number of challenges in implementing its vision.

“The school calendar is dynamic, which means we cannot have a fixed date for our sports day. We have to wait for the schools to give us harmonised dates so that we do not interfere with other plans. We have become accustomed to it, and it has worked well so far,” he said.

Ntakuka said funding is a challenge as Scad has few sponsors, yet the fight against drug abuse among students is a major problem.

“Most of our sponsors such as Homeboyz Entertainment and St John’s Ambulance support us in kind. As a result, it becomes difficult to achieve some of the programmes we have planned. Poor funding is and indication that the fight against drugs is not taken as seriously as it should be,” said Ntakuka.