One of Open Field’s first youth participants, David, the after-school programs at his school in 2012 when he was 12 years old. The following year he was president of the school club. A few years later, he was an intern in our Kumba office. In 2018, David started his collegiate soccer career at a community college in the U.S. and by 2020 earned his associate degree. Despite challenges caused by the pandemic and lack of financial resources, David earned his bachelor’s degree in risk management in May 2022. One of our first program participants graduated college! Later that year David joined our board of directors, bringing his journey through Open Field full circle.
TRANSITION TO FUTURE
In 2023, Open Field is shifting our operating model in Cameroon due to the ongoing crisis in the country and the ever-changing international funding landscape. With continued investment from many long-time and new supporters, we will support educational soccer competitions in the community. Coaches and community leaders from across Kumba will continue to utilize the Kumba office for training and resources to improve their coaching and mentoring players to be student athletes and global citizens. Members of the Kumba team continue to expand their leadership roles, shaping youth soccer at the neighborhood, divisional, regional, and national level. Coach Kingsley has taken his girls team to the top division in the Southwest Region. Divine, Caroline, and Nenne all hold executive positions in their neighborhood veteran clubs. Ashu and Peter hold leadership roles in church groups, community health initiatives. Their commitment to sport-based youth development will no doubt have community-wide influence for many years to come.
FIFA FOUNDATION & COMMON GOAL
With support from the FIFA Foundation from 2015-2021, we facilitated dozens of empowering workshops for girls and young women, annual leadership conferences, and our signature PLAY4PURPOSE youth-led, neighborhood-based soccer leagues that promoted health, life skills learning, and service projects in more than 20 communities. Open Field’s participation in Common Goal opened the door to FIFA funding and an international network of like-minded organizations doing similar work.
UNITED NATIONS DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMME
In 2019, amidst the increasing insecurity and conflict in Anglophone Cameroon, Open Field was awarded a grant to promote peace through soccer in the two regions mostly affected by the crisis. We welcomed dozens of internally displaced youth into our community-based leagues in Kumba, Mamfe, and Bamenda and supported them with a holistic approach to player development and coaching. Using trauma-informed approach and healing-centered modalities, local leadership supported this transition for some of the most vulnerable young people impacted by the crisis.
POSITIVE YOUTH DEVELOPMENT
We are proud to partner with local soccer academies, schools, individuals committed to youth development, and other community leaders to center SBYD methodologies in all activities. Open Field supports community-wide soccer competitions that mobilize stakeholders and bring youth together to discuss important issues they face and promote essential life skills. Tournaments operate under the banner of a social impact theme to ensure learning happens alongside play. Local leadership ensures cultural competence.