The month of November provided a bright spark for hockey, especially youth hockey, in Kenya, thanks to a collaborative effort between the Kenya hockey community, the Dutch Kenya Youth Hockey Development Foundation and a delegation from Johan Cruyff college (Netherlands) that included a training programme for the Kenyan youth and a workshop for the youth hockey coaches of Kenya.
For three weeks, young players from Kenya were given training in sports, primarily hockey, with the aim of increasing their awareness on mental health and resilience, and to guide them in their personal development. 5 students from Curio Sport en Bewegen and Johan Cruyff College Roosendaal, Netherlands in collaboration with Erik van der Dussen, Meshack Mensah, Whitteny Nyabuto of KYHD, ran the sporting activities and social engagements, working effectively to make the programme a success.
The Kenya Youth Hockey Development Foundation (KYHD) runs the programme with the purpose of offering vulnerable Kenyan children and young people a new perspective through hockey and is supported in this endeavor, by Dutch Hockey Clubs and Dutch companies and individuals in NL and Kenya. The Johan Cruyff College (Roosendaal) and Curio Sports & Bewegen (Breda) entered into a partnership with this foundation to enable students to learn and work in an international (sports) context and to further develop the social impact of the hockey project in Kenya.
Parallel to the development programme, a coaching course was also created for 26 certified hockey coaches, which was followed by a workshop for 52 prospective hockey coaches. The aim of the coaching course was to have coaches of Kenya Hockey and Kenya Youth Hockey train and coach in a different way, in which awareness of the athlete was central. This course was administered by Herman Kruis, FIH educator and FIH coach.
"The collaboration between Kenya Hockey Union, Curio students and Kenya Youth Hockey Development, with which we support children in their total development and use hockey as a means, creates a wonderful synergy", said FIH educator Herman Kruis, who led the course for the coaches.
On the final day of the 3-week pilot project, on 26 November 2022, about 90 children came together and played a hockey tournament at the City Park Hockey Stadium, Nairobi, under the watchful eye of many certified coaches and were cheered on by Dutch ambassador Maarten Brouwer.
The 78 hockey coaches who attended the coaching course and workshop were also presented with the certificates by Maarten Brouwer and Herman Kruis on this final day. Thanking the Kenya Hockey Union president for his hospitality and Erik van der Dussen for his commitment to the foundation, Ambassador Maarten Brouwer spoke highly of this initiative.
It is expected that this project will continue further into the coming years with the aim of offering youth more opportunities through sport and bringing Kenya Hockey back to the top of world hockey.