On Wednesday, the 25th of January 2023, the Game Connect held its annual gala event at Word View Primary School in Lamwo district, hosted by the Palabek Refugee Settlement. The event brought together refugee, Internally Displaced Persons (IDP), and host community youth teams from different camps to showcase the various life skills they have learned through the Game Connect Sport for Protection activities.

Thanks to the Olympic Refugee Foundation (ORF) and its Sport for Protection program, the event aimed to promote unity and improve the mental health of young youth. The Uganda Olympic Committee (UOC), in partnership with other consortium partners including Youth Sport Uganda, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Avsi  Foundation, and Right to Play, has been implementing a structured sport for protection project with this year’s theme being “Sport for a better mental health and a common identity”.

The event aimed to improve social cohesion, inclusion and psychosocial wellbeing for the refugee and host community youth, fostering peaceful co-existence within the communities. Different activities were carried out, with mixed teams of boys and girls, plus one person with a disability, playing football and netball. The performances were impressive, and all participants were awarded certificates, trophies, and medals to the overall winners. Adjumani emerged as overall winners in football, while Kampala came in as first runners-up. In netball, the Kampala team emerged as winners, and Lamwo was the first runner-up. The youth participating in this event were full of joy and truly expressed themselves wholeheartedly.

With the event closing on a high note, the Game Connect Project is focusing on improving the skills and capacities of refugee and host community youth to support their psychosocial wellbeing and mental health through improved access to safe sport, developing new and strengthened social support, and working with District level officials to appreciate and advocate for sport for protection activities.

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