By Nhial Kheer

Just like any other sport game, Chess has been one of the most outstanding sport activities in the refugee camp and has always been the sport game in which youth tries to determine, gauge and evaluate their reasoning ability as well as their brain effort in confronting real life situations.


Operation of the Activity

People playing chessThe rules governing the operation or the guide lines on the same are essentially derived from the Chess’ board instructions and these are the common benchmarks through which the guidelines governing the sequences of movement originate from. The same instructions are normally presented to the upcoming youth who have expressed interest of venturing into Chess as a sport game. The movement of pieces within the chess board is always a preliminary step and doesn’t take long before the player masters it. However, the strategies of defence as well as the techniques of winning the game are entirely long term acquisitions and for which the player learns over time through observation and practice. 


General perception on the activity

The chess game in playGenerally, the perception of community leaders and the residents towards the activity is very positive. Over the years the turnout at the sport centre has been on a continuous growth and the number of players within the camp has considerably grown over the last quarters. This is attributed to the reason that sport centre has not only been a recreational centre alone but also a centre in which people from diverse background converged for the pursuit of a common goal. This doesn’t only cultivate the culture of brotherhood and coexistence but also ushers in a principle of common understanding, a subject which the community’ leaders as well as the relevant stakeholders have persistently been advocating for to prevail in the Refugee Camp. Given that, an instrument that would bring people together such as a Chess tournament has always taken lead in the priorities of the community leaders and hence they fully support the advancement of this activity with the limited resources at their disposal.


How is it competitive

Comparatively, chess as sport game continue to demonstrate some tangible and practical advantages over other sports games such as football and volleyball. In an ethical perspective, Chess forums don’t always accommodate a ground for hostility, and therefore, a few who might have been disoriented by life challenges find an enabling environment while at the sport centre. This, over the past, has been so instrumental in reducing youth indulgences and some other matters of outrageousness, or misdemeanour that would have been hardly managed.   


Budget Constraints

Playing chess helps promote peaceful activitySpeaking historically and presently, budget constrain has always been the major setback when it comes into the operation as well as the advancement of this activity in the Camp. There is no particular agency that has taken an active role in responding to the growing demands in Chess arena and thus this has been a hindrance. It has never captured the position of being the top priority from the humanitarian organizations though the realizations on the same are underway currently. The financial assistance from Lutheran World Federation in conjunction with UNHCR that has been sustaining this activity had then been so intermittent before its cessation in 2006. Furthermore, the statistics of Chess annual enrolment is increasingly on the move but the facilities continue to undergo through wear and tear, rather than satisfying the growing needs. Presently, and to narrow down on this, there is no financial support allocated for Chess activity as of this year due to funding constrains that have cut across the operation of each and every single humanitarian organization.


Chess’ accomplishments, financial support and future goals

Challenges and strategy are discussed, promoting peaceful inteactionWhen we play chess, we find ourselves so cohesive and a peaceful coexistence takes a lead. It is a game that not only unifies us into common thoughts but also brings us into realizing the value of togetherness and thus this translates into building the culture of brotherhood.

With the increasing rates of crimes and the alarming nasty indulgence that our youth has been engaging in, I feel it’s ideal to promote the culture of sport as a mean of engaging the idle mind. This would not only help in eradicating the crimes prevalence in the camp but would also help in mentoring to youth into being more technical in their reasoning ability. Chess as game, would do well and should be promoted in the sport arena. In that regard, I personally feel that it's an opportune moment for us to encourage the upcoming generation to nurture the culture of sport as a means of restoring peace and Harmony not only in our communities but also throughout the whole refugee settlement and that would be reflected in the coming years when God allows us to exist.

The game generates a lot of healthy thought and interestSpeaking more on the value of chess as a sport game, I would love to highlight a few instances through which this game would be so instrumental towards shaping the reasoning ability of an individual. Chess as game doesn't only inculcate the spirit of team work but also enables an individual to reason more effectively in the situation of a dilemma and emerge with brilliant tactic in order to get around the situation.

Chess will increase their IQ; power of imagination and concentration. It will also rescue them from sadistic video and games that only interfere with our true personality by exposing them into some of the mischievous and nasty occurrence that find no space in our societal stand.  Indeed, the World Health Organization is now preparing a draft to classify persistent video gaming as an addictive health disorder. On the other hand, a study shows how four months of chess instructions has, significantly, raised the IQ scores of both boys and girls of 4000 Venezuelan students. Studies have

also revealed that the game of chess helps both young and old to have a sound cerebral health. According to a study, people of over 75 years of age who engage in brain-games like chess are less likely to develop dementia than their non- board-game-playing counterparts.

People who might normally fight meet in peace to play chessChess as a sport game in Kakuma refugee Camp has been so instrumental in bringing communities from diverse background together. This has not only enhanced the culture of understanding but has also cultivated the aspect of peace, tolerance and mutual inclusiveness for a common goal. The spirit of brotherhood has relatively been brought into life thereby enhancing the recognition of one another. From the foregoing, Church Leaders Initiative for Peace in conjunction with the community leaders and other relevant peace actors in Kakuma refugee camp have collectively identified this activity as a promising strategy through  which the ever growing communities hostility could be eradicated. However, the financial budget to respond to this concern continues to split the effort consolidated for the same. Given these financial resources, and having also identified this particular gap, Church Leaders Initiative for Peace is so optimistic to invest all the possible efforts in restructuring, maintenance and promotion of sport culture as a mechanism of ensuring peace across the communities residing in Kakuma refugee camp in line with our mission and goals. This is not a short term strategy though, but rather, a long term overdue mission that CLIP looks forward to as future goal to accomplish in the nearest time possible given the resources of all perspectives.