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SPEECH BY PROF. GEOFFEY M. MULUVI, PhD, VICE-CHANCELLOR, SOUTH EASTERN KENYA UNIVERSITY DURING THE CLOSING CEREMONY OF THE 2018 COMPASSION INTERNATIONAL NATIONAL GAMES TOURNAMENT HELD AT SOUTH EASTERN KENYA UNIVERSITY FROM 23RD AUGUST 2018

Country Director Compassion International, Mr. Joel Macharia,
Sponsors,
Senior Managers,
Managers,
Staff
Members of the 2018 Games Organising Committee
Participants
Invited guests, Ladies and gentlemen

I wish to thank the organising committee for honouring me with the invitation to witness the final part of the 2018 national sports tournament of the Compassion International. I take this opportunity to formally welcome all our visitors to South Eastern Kenya University. I ask you to always feel at home here in our University.

On behalf of the entire South Eastern Kenya University Community, I would like to express our utmost gratitude to the Organising Committee and the Management of Compassion International, Kenya for giving us the opportunity to host this year’s games. This is an honour and a favour that we do take for granted because we know that you had other options, yet you chose to give us the chance.

I trust that you have enjoyed and continue to enjoy our peaceful environment, which is most conducive for sporting activity. Our University is uniquely free from the usual urban life distractions and digressions and offers the ideal atmosphere for competitions such as this, which require concentration and team cohesion.

I am aware that our organising team has done its best to meet you expectations. Nevertheless, we remain cognizant of our imperfection as human beings. I therefore urge you to bear with us where we may not have performed to your utmost expectations and give us a second chance in future.

More importantly, it is my sincere hope that this opportunity will open a chapter of cooperation and collaboration between our two institutions in our similar quest to contribute meaningfully to the development of the youth in society.

A look at or our respective missions reveal striking similarities in our overall goals. Compassion International’s holistic approach to child development, which goes beyond the individual child to encompass the family as well, resonates well with our approach to higher education, which is founded on our firm belief that the community must be an integral part of our development agenda. Our philosophy of transforming lives looks beyond the students to enhancing livelihoods within the community that we live in.
[Perhaps in future we need to consider fine tuning our philosophy to read:“Transforming lives with Compassion].
We should build onto these similarities and forge a lasting partnership for the benefit of the key constituencies that we serve, namely the children and their communities. I wish to affirm our readiness to set in motion discussions in this regard.
I extend this offer of partnership not only to Compassion International but also to all the students who are here today. I invite you to seriously consider South Eastern Kenya University the destination for your next level of education. Our peaceful atmosphere, coupled with modern physical facilities,as you have seen, and a pool of top notch faculty assure you of quality education. Moreover, with no distractions occasioned by student and staff strikes since its inception, ours is the only university in recent times where student enroll and graduate strictly on schedule.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Turning to the function today, I would like to say that the value of sports needs no gainsaying. It is common knowledge that sports play a significant role in our holistic being, particularly for the youth in society.

Sporting activities stimulate growth and lead to improved physical and emotional health. Today, the value of physical activity in children is more manifest than ever before. Medical research shows that highly active children are less likely to suffer from the now common ailments like high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity and heart disease later in life.

Physical exercise improves health and a fit child is more likely to be well-rested and mentally alert during learning activities. Even moderate physical activity has been shown to improve a child’s skill at arithmetic, reading, and memorisation.

 

But sport givesthe youth more than just physical well-being; it contributes to theirdevelopment both psychologically and socially, instilling in them self-esteem and self-worth andenabling them to establish and develop peer status and peer acceptance.

We have all heard the old saying “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy”. Games in the life of students have become even more important in the current times, when the society is grappling with increased negative influences such as drugs abuse, alcoholism and general moral decadence. Engaging the youth in sports serves as a fitting diversion from these vices.
Through sports we learn important life skills such as teamwork, leadership and patience. Through sports, children learn from their formative stages to play within the rules and acquire the discipline and grace to deal with both winning and losing. All of these are experiences and habits that they soon discover are inescapable aspects of everyday life.

Sports have been known to results in restoration of self-esteem for students who may not be good in academics when they discover their potential in sport and readjust their focus. More importantly, sport is no longer considered a pastime but a valuable reliable source of livelihood. More and more people are now turning to sport as a first choice in the hierarchy of options for economic advancement.
It is therefore gratifying to note that CompassionInternational has taken a holistic approach to child development with physical development running alongside others priorities, namely spiritual, social and economic.
The current extended school hours compared to a few decades ago, coupled with the lack of adequate sports facilities for most children near their homes, have put the onus on schools and welfare institutions to take the lead in providing this essential component of human growth and development.
I urge the students to take advantage this rare opportunity to discover and exploit their potential in sports.

Ladeie and gentlemen,

As I end my remarks, I wish to congratulate the teams as well as individuals who have won in different categories. I urge those who did not make it to the top this time to learn from their experience and improve their performances. However, I hasten to add that in a tournament such as this, there are actually no losers or winners. The interactions and sharing of experiences that you have had here for the last four days far outweigh the thrill of winning and overshadow the pain of losing.

Finally I wish to thank the two organising committees from SEKU and Compassion, who, I am aware, have worked round the clock to make this year’s event a success.

My gratitude also goes to the national office and the sponsors of Compassion International for making resources available for the staging of these activities.

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