WREPA recently teamed up with BYSA to offer support and join them for their annual football tournament semi-finals and finals held in December of last year. The BYSA Academy was established in 2013 by Abasalim Ogana, who wanted to give young people a chance to succeed by nurturing their talents in sports. The goal of Budalang'i Youth Sports Academy-BYSA is to offer an opportunity for optimal development of talent in youth through training and nurturing of their talents. BYSA football training has quickly become a way of life for many young boys & girls who have joined the academy, they play this game in the hopes that they will someday become great soccer players like Dennis Oliech, Victor Wanyama, MacDonald Mariga, Michael Olunga and many others. The Academy's goals have been to engage Budalangi people, foster teamwork, and teach young people important life lessons about hard work, dedication and relying on others. Perhaps more importantly, bysa football helps to keep kids off the lake Victoria fishing arenas and away from drugs and violence.
Football is a game that is very significant to most young people in the Busia region of Western Kenya and this is what Budalangi Youth Sports Academy -BYSA has set out to bring to as many young people as they can reach.
Our goal as WREPA to collaborate with BYSA, is to bring our expertise in creating awareness in many issues such as ending child marriage and ending the HIV/AIDS prevalence to the communities and the young people within the BYSA academy. Before the start of the semi-finals, WREPA organised a dissemination workshop with the players, to explain to them who we are as an organization and to discuss the importance of a study conducted in the same area. The research study focused around the issue of early and forced child marriage, specifically; The impact of Child Early and forced marriage on the Mental Health of Women and Development of their Children. This was a scoping study conducted in the area and our goal was to relay the outcomes of the study back to the community as well create awareness among the young people on the issue of child marriage. During discussions the young people listened to the study participants, four young women who were married early and were currently still in the same marriage, the women were brave and confident in explaining how they ended up married(mostly before the age of 18) and the difficulties that they faced as young mothers forced to become the providers in their homes. Many of the young people were aware of this practice and the young women stressed to them the importance of staying in school, obtaining an education and to seek help from their schools, teachers or BYSA head coaches if any of the young girls were put in a position of being forced to get married by their relatives.
In conclusion, WREPA hopes to continue offering support to BYSA and their activities as well offering many of the young people who join the academy information on their human rights, sexual reproductive rights and in fulfilling one of our priories as an organization, to end the harmful practice of Early and Forced Child Marriages within the community of Busia.