Ben Parkinson in Uganda: the latest development
Boardgaming is turning into a major hobby for those children in Uganda, whom we can connect to board games. We’ve seen confidence build and even children learn to read, as they desire to play the games better.
Visitors to this website, from ten countries in March – who may not have read earlier news of the Butterfly project – should know that there are too few useful things that Ugandan children who live in slums or remote rural areas can do, so often they can end up in scrap collecting or worse in cities or into alcohol in villages. Board games which are part of Ugandan culture are a welcome addition to our activities, and it is a privilege to be able to introduce these games to so many.
In May this year, we hope to host the second Village Boardgame Convention in Uganda, more details here, following on from last year’s amazing event. At our remote rural centre in Koro, near Gulu in Northern Uganda, we have a children’s activity centre, where we plan to bring children and youth from multiple districts of Uganda with your help. This event is part of an initiative by UK charity CYEN, which trains teenagers from remote villages to be social entrepreneurs, young people who can catalyse change in the most disadvantaged parts of society.
We believe that boardgames can effect change in these young people by teaching them skills, which they would otherwise find difficult to learn.
- a) Games can teach young people about the outside world in fun ways, which will stimulate their interest and ambition
- b) Winning games can build confidence, when often schools have few mechanisms to boost the confidence of their pupils
- c) Most games have a planning or memory element, which can help their players think in different ways, when often children might live day to day for their survival
- d) Many games are creative and help inspire problem-solving, which is key in seeing change occur in these remote places
- e) We hope to inspire new game designers from communities, who can then earn money that can help enhance local school or health provision.
- f) Co-operative games can inspire teamwork and partnership, a factor often needed in impoverished areas.
The initiative is called Gamechangers
See the video here: https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/uganda-village-board-game-convention/
New clubs have sprung up in two sites in Gulu and another at our centre in Koro, in Northern Uganda. In Kampala, we launched our Boardgame sleepovers two weeks ago, which were incredibly well attended that we barely fit everyone in!
In December, we ran Christmas workshops for village children as part of the Gamechangers Road Trip making it to some of the most remote parts of Northern Uganda. Last weekend we opened up a third official Gamechangers club in Mpigi, about 30km to the west of Kampala.
Our team of 16 young trainers taught 12 games to almost 70 children and staff at the Abato Foundation. During the next month we plan to open eight more small clubs in Northern Uganda, in advance of our second Village Boardgame Convention, so that we can bring a further 80 children to the Convention to meet their peers and learn from our more experienced players. In total we estimate we have introduced boardgaming to almost 1000 children in Uganda and regular boardgaming occurs now to at least 100, from North to South.