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Muchemi Njuguna

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Muchemi Njuguna,
ICE '17

Teaching life skills through sport

Muchemi Njuguna, MA ’17, comes from a world where #soccer is more than a sport. “Everybody in Kenya has a team,” he says. “If your team loses, if your team wins—that can affect the outlook for the week.” Growing up in Kiambu, he and his friends wove their own goals out of plastic bags and string, and played wherever they could find an open space. Without refs or coaches, they governed themselves. “How you treated others on the field is how they would treat you,” Njuguna says. As a master’s student in the International Comparative Education (ICE) program at the GSE, he was interested in testing his assumptions about the invaluable life skills the game imparts, and applied community-based research methods to a study of the nonprofit organization Street Soccer USA. His findings supported his premise: What’s taught on the field—agency, self-confidence, resilience and conflict resolution—is just as important as what’s taught in the classroom. “We have so many engineers who can build actual bridges,” Njuguna says, “but we don’t have a lot of people who can bring communities together.”

July 12, 2018
Photo by Tom James, ’08, MS ’10

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