About Us

Gainline Africa is a Canadian sports for development organization that uses rugby as a tool for development in Africa’s post-conflict communities. We are a volunteer-driven organization made up of rugby and non-rugby players who believe sport is a non-intrusive, efficient and cost-effective tool to assess and address many social and developmental issues that arise in post-conflict communities.

Locally, we raise awareness and involvement through initiatives that educate and engage Canadians about the issues post-conflict communities face. Abroad, our sustainable program model partners us with rugby communities to promote education, leadership, health, conflict resolution and peacebuilding.

OUR MISSION

  • RAISE AWARENESS of international issues affecting post-conflict communities.
  • INSPIRE Canadians to partner with developing African rugby communities.
  • IMPROVE LIVES & EMPOWER YOUTH through rugby.

Growing up my rugby teammates became my family. We pushed each other on and off the field - in life and in sport - forging relationships well after the whistle had blown.

– David Marchesseault

Founder Gainline Africa

How We Do It

Research shows that sport is a therapeutic activity for communities physically and psychologically affected by war. In a community devastated by extreme hardships, a rugby pitch can restore a lost sense of normalcy through an organized environment. With rules, regulations, and referees, individuals can find solace in an undisturbed environment while organizers can help identify those that require further assistance or counseling.

Rugby is an active means by which groups of youth (male and female) come together in an uplifting and encouraging environment. Rugby achieves the following:

Where We Do It

Although we seek to connect rugby communities across all of Africa, we have focused our first efforts in Uganda, a beautiful country nestled in the Great Lakes region of the African continent. Working primarily in the northern Uganda region of Gulu, Gainline Africa’s coaches and community leaders are teaming up with local Ugandans to strengthen rugby communities after many years of brutal civil war.

Over the past few years, we’ve partnered with seven high schools and one senior rugby club in Gulu. More recently, we’re furthering our reach with war-affected communities in Uganda by expanding the schools program to four high schools in Kitgum District and now partner with the Kitgum Lions Rugby Club.

Our grassroots approach seeks to maximize positive impact and create a sustainable legacy of Canadian-Ugandan rugby community cooperation.

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Sir Samuel Baker School

Founded in 1952, Sir Samuel Baker is an advanced-level boarding school for boys only. It is located 6kms from Gulu town and started its rugby program in the 1960s, but soon lost many sports programs due to political conflict that began in the 1970s. The school houses 800-1000 students from S1 to S6, depending on enrolment in a given year. Although coming last in the 1st Guluschools rugby league, the SSB rugby club is growing every year and becoming a well-respected group of students. In 2013, SSB rugby club hosted the first youth tour from Canada and hope to continue the traditional annually.

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Gulu Central High School

Established in 1998, Gulu Central High School is a mixed school but only has a boys’ rugby club at the present time. It’s situated just on the outskirts of town but the closest of all our participating schools. Central has approximately 883 students in total. It’s been involved in the Gainline Africa & GRFC program since 2010 and has a growing number of participants in the rugby program every year. One of their players even trains daily with the Gulu Elephants!

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Pope John Paul II College

As one of the youngest schools in Gulu District, Pope John Paull II College is one of the best performing in the region. The current enrolment is 1100 students, male and female. The rugby club has both a boys and girls team. In 2013, the boys’ team took the winning trophy in the Gulu schools rugby league and went on to compete at the national games and regional East African championships.

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Gulu High School

Opened in 1914, Gulu High School is one of the oldest schools in the program. It’s a government run secondary school but was first opened by a missionary society. Financially supported by the church at first, in 1964 it became a government sponsored school. Gulu High is a mixed school and its rugby club has both a boys and girls team. Located a 10 minute drive outside of Gulu town, it hosts a total of 1025 students and 55 staff members. In 2013, the students of the rugby club planted a fruit garden as one of their community activities that will last for years to come and be enjoyed by many future rugby players!

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Bishop Angelo Negri College

Founded in 1986, Bishop Angelo Negri College is located 15 minutes outside of Gulu town and funded by the Gulu Archdiocese. It’s an all-boy, government-funded, boarding school and houses approximately 700 students.  Negri rugby club is one of the first in the schools program. Their pitch is of great pride and they have even hosted Gulu Elephant (Gulu’s senior rugby club) games there in the past.

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Graceland Girls Secondary School

Founded in 2009, Graceland Girls Secondary School is the only all-girls school in Gulu region that has a rugby club. The number of club members increases every year and in 2013 they entered two teams in the Gulu schools rugby league. The sports teacher once said ‘we try to get these girls to play soccer too, but they just pick up the ball and run with it.’ The school is privately owned and located 10 minutes outside of Gulu town along Gulu Pakwach Road. It is a boardingschool and houses 537 students.

St. Joseph’s College at Layibi

Layibi College is situated to the south of Gulu town and is also an all-boy, government-funded, secondary school. The school was founded in 1953 by a Missionary Society, enrols 1223 students and sits on 198 acres of land. Layibi is the name of the village surrounding the school grounds. The College was one of the first in Gulu District to introduce rugby to their students. In 2010 the rugby club planted trees near the school entrance and the pitch; they are still growing today.

Monsignor Antonnio Vignato

Vignato is a Catholic founded school which was started in 2004 to provide quality education to both boys and girls not only within Kitgum but even the neighbouring districts. It has an approximate population of 600 students. It is located 1Kilometer west of Kitgum Town besides the Police barracks. The schools rugby was formed in 2012 and they managed to emerge victors of the first rugby tournament in Kitgum in June 2013.

Kitgum Vision College

Vision College is a private secondary school and was founded in 1996, by 2 people in partnership. It is a mixed day and boarding school and offers both Ordinary and Advanced level education. It is located south of Kitgum town approximately 3 Kilometers from the town center next to the airstrip. It started with about 50 students but as time went on enrolment increased to 250 students in O level and 100 students in A’ level in the next couple of years. It currently accommodates 1242 students. Rugby was introduced to the students in 2012 and the Club was quite small. However, with time the club has continuously grown in 2013.

Kitgum Comprehensive College

A private school established in 1996, it is a mixed day O and A level school. It sits on approximately 4 acres of land located 2kms southwest of Kitgum town. The school has a growing number of students and currently has a population of 900.  This is the oldest rugby playing school in Kitgum, the rugby club was formed in 2011 and has strongly grown along the years. It even has a few of students playing for the Kitgum Lions (Kitgum’s Senior Team).

Kitgum Technical Institute

The school is a government aided institution with a Uganda National Examinations Board center that was formed by the Uganda Catholic Parents Association Kitgum branch in 1970 as rural trade school. It was transformed into a technical school in 1973 to admit more students, it was then upgraded into a technical institute in 1983. Today Kitgum Technical Institute is the only technical institute in the Gainline Africa program. It has a total population of about 200.  The rugby club went into action in 2012 and currently has the highest number of rugby playing students in Kitgum.

"We seek to listen first and then act by investing our time in building personal relationships with our Ugandan partners."

– Andrea McKinlay

Program Director, Gainline Africa

Why We Do It

Northern Uganda was affected by a conflict lasting more than 20 years. The conflict between the Ugandan People’s Defence Force (UPDF) and the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) ended in 2008 when the LRA left the region to hide in the forested area of the Democratic Republic of Congo. There is extensive documentation of the tens of thousands of civilians who were killed, raped, or abducted. A majority of these Ugandans were children who were forced to fight as child soldiers while their families were forced into Internally Displaced Peoples (IDP) camps throughout the region, depriving citizens of Acholiland (Northern Uganda) of basic needs such as clean water, healthcare, and privacy. All social opportunities, such as education, cultural activities, and sport came to a halt .

The people of Northern Uganda embrace resiliency through sport while gaining feelings of forgiveness and redemption. They look on in hopes of establishing widespread peace to their communities. Since 2008, relative peace has returned to Gulu and Acholiland along with many former displaced children and families. The wounds of war are deep and the communities slowly heal. Northern Uganda needs new, innovative, and non-intrusive tools to further enhance their progress.

Ugandan
Programs

Canadian
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