Gabriel first started with Inuka Direct in 2014. His idea became official in 2016 when Inuka Direct, an organisation which teaches life skills using football as a tool for development, received a formal recognition as a community based organisation. Gabriel runs the programme in Nairobi, Kenya, where he also grew up and, from an early age on, played and coached football.

Name: Gabriel Tito
Last name:
Tabona
Age: 30
Education: Project planning and management
Country: Kenya

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Why football?

I was raised in the Eastlands, a part of Nairobi known for crime, and all other negative things. I know guys who I grew up with and who were later killed by police because of crimes they were committing, or those who were and are still engaged in drugs and alcoholism. I didn’t want to be a statistic so I used to go to Jericho lower grounds to train – every day. It reduced my chances of getting involved in social vices.

 

 

“I believe football is the strongest currency in the world. Its popularity and the ability to bring people together cannot be defined by words but action.”

The best thing about football?

The best thing about football is that it is a culture regardless of tribe, colour or creed. Whether you are in Peru or Nairobi, whether you are in Johannesburg or New Delhi, when you show a ball, it elicits excitement.

Why do you like it so much?

Well, while growing up in my neighbourhood in Nairobi’s Uhuru estate, everyone around me used to play football including my elder brother. And it’s natural that I had to follow this. I cannot put it in words why I like football though, it’s just that I like football much more than other sports.

“In Swahili, Inuka means ‘rise up’.”

Why Inuka Direct?

Inuka Direct is a result of my experiences in sports for development (SFD) programmes. I wanted to stay in the SFD ecosystem so I formally founded it in October 2016. I believed more needs to be done to engage children and youth.

 

 

What was your motivation?

My motivation is that all sports, not only football, have the ability to influence crucial policy decisions from the micro to macro level. Social development programs can no longer ignore sports as a way to improve the well-being of its participants.

What are some of the issues children from Nairobi are facing with?

Inuka Direct’s flagship program is financial literacy (Some Hela program) because the critical issue that children from resource-strained areas are facing with is not getting the access to financial education. They later end up making poor investing decisions in their adulthood. This means they continue the cycle of poverty which is later also adapted by the future generations.

 

 

How Football and sport help them?

Through the football themed financial literacy toolkit, we hope to increase financial inclusion among children of Nairobi. The toolkit will help to demystify the notion that only the wealthy can access financial services. Its practical aspects will demonstrate to them what decisions they can make to put what they earn as pocket money into good things.

What life lessons have you learnt while coaching and working with children?

“That in life, everyone is different. It doesn’t matter who gets to a destination first because everyone has his/her own way of learning.”

While some can achieve their goals within one year, others can take up to five years to achieve theirs. This was demonstrated during training sessions where I saw some participants mastering the concept of passing, dribbling, etc. within a short period of time while others took two years to master passing.

 

 

What did children teach you?

That you can only guide someone to his destination, but not how to reach their destination. That one should be given a safe space and environment to discover new things.

What is your goal for the future?

The goal for the future is to see Inuka Direct graduate from a community based organization to a non governmental organization. Personally, I will be happy to do an undergraduate in Sports Management.

What have been your happiest moment so far?

Being able to pilot the financial literacy toolkit which is awaiting review and seeing various stakeholders being interested in Inuka Direct.

What makes you happy nowadays?

Publishing my articles on sportanddev.org and seeing big organizations sharing and retweeting them on their social media pages.

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Meet Gabriel better: Gabriel Tito Tabona

INUKA DIRECT:

Inuka Direct became an official community based organisation in 2016. Follow Gabriel and his work:

Facebook: Inuka Direct
LinkedIn: Inuka Direct
Twitter: @inuka_direct
sportanddev.org: Inuka Direct
Instagram: @inuka Direct