Lydia Stephens is a community coach living in the Wakiso district.
Mukisa Lydia Stephens
After completing the Premier Skills training in 2016, she embarked on using learnings from the programme to establish the Sokolo football academy and Sokolo Foundation. Her charity now supports 70 boys and 20 girls and offers them opportunities to pursue education while playing football.
I am inspired to advance and engage more girls to play football. From the Premier Skills, I learned how to use the STEPS and SMILES [coaching principles] which make my sessions more fun, and it has also helped me to identify risks and ways to mitigate them while working with young people. I can now do more on the pitch as a female coach while safeguarding female participants.
Children dropping out of school is still a big challenge in Uganda. In the case of Kampala and surrounding areas, the children who leave school, especially girls, are exposed to early child pregnancy and risk of acquiring HIV/AIDS. She has been working with other coach administrators to create safe and inclusive spaces for girls during tournaments, as a coach and child safety and protection officer. She organises a workshop with community leaders and raises awareness about mental health, and HIV/AIDS among young people in the community.
Her Premier Skills journey since 2016 has included working as a coach and collaborating with many community coaches and sports organisation working with young people. In 2021, she was a panellist on the Premier Skills online panel discussion to speak on advancing female participation in football in Uganda. This event was to lead up the Goal 5 Summit to mark International Day of the Girl Child.