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Jambo Bukoba and football team up for Tanzanian youngsters

Young girl shooting a ball in Tanzania (Jambo Bukoba)
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  • Tanzanian NGO Jambo Bukoba helps the country’s young people
  • Founded in 2008, it uses football to achieve its aims
  • Runs specific programmes for girls

“I want to help the children of Tanzania,” said Clemens Mulokozi one day, expressing the goal that led to him founding the NGO Jambo Bukoba. Born to a Tanzanian father and a German mother, he spent his childhood in both countries and enjoyed a multicultural upbringing.

Living in Germany made him aware of the different pace in development between the two countries and allowed him to gauge what Tanzania was lacking in terms of education, health and infrastructure.

His big idea can be traced back to Munich and the day when a friend gave him a signed jersey worn by former Bayern player Willy Sagnol in a UEFA Champions League match. The gift came with a message: “Do something with this for your people.” Putting those words into practice, Mulokozi sprang into action, calling on his contacts in the two countries.

Returning to Bukoba, the capital of the Kagera region and not far from the village where his father was born, he met with local stakeholders in youth affairs and started putting his project together. He also spoke to avid young footballers, some of them wearing just the one shoe, for whom football was a way of forgetting about their problems and forgetting about hunger.

Angela Merkel signing a ball with Clemens Mulokozi, founder of Jambo Bukoba (Tanzania)
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German chancellor Angela Merkel hands over an award to Jambo Bukoba, in the presence of its founder, Clemens Mulokozi (right), in 2015.

Building confidence through better choices

Jambo Bukoba was born in December 2008 with the aim of helping these youngsters improve their everyday lives by giving them access to better education, health, drinking water and equal opportunities, while also highlighting the values of sport.

In the decade since then, the NGO has continued to grow. In that time it has helped hundreds of youngsters to flourish and come into their own, not least with the help of programmes designed for girls and young women, who often have to drop out of school for financial reasons or because of unwanted pregnancy. Young women are also more at risk of contracting HIV than young men.

Playing sport boosts their self-confidence, allows them to make better life choices and avoid certain risks, such as unprotected sex. The help that they and other young Tanzanians are receiving at a time of life crucial to their development is priceless.

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