Our October Youth Leadership Initiative (YLI) workshop focused on learning SMART goals. Though players had learned the importance of goal making in the past, they had not yet focused on how to make their goals SMART. 

S – Specific: What exactly do you want to achieve (be descriptive) –What, Where, Why, When, How
M – Measurable: How can you tell that you have achieved it? Is there a timeline?
A – Attainable: Is this possible to achieve in your timeline? Do you have the time, money and skills to reach
R – Realistic: Is this goal going to help you in the future? Are there trainings you can do that will help you achieve this goal? Ask yourself why you want this goal.
T – Timely: How long is it going to take. Create a timeline and be okay to be flexible but it should be a goal that has some kind of urgency for it.

During the workshop, players learned what the acronym SMART stood for and the importance of creating goals with these elements in them. Creating goals or wishes for the future is something that KPI players have a lot of experience in but being able to set a plan on how to achieve these goals is a skill they needed to work on.

Players started the day by playing a warm up game of Animal Tag, which coincided with the theme of the week Providing Protection to help create Opportunity for others. Animal Tag gave them a good way to practice protecting others and having protection given to them. 

After their blood was pumping and their brains were ready to work, we moved on to creating a goal wheel. These wheels consisted of different aspects of their lives such as school, family, KPI, and any hobbies they might take part in. With these headings, they then made basic goals surrounding each one. This got them thinking about the different parts of their lives and what kind of positive changes they can make within it. Some of the goals that were made were; going to Akagera National Park, becoming a leader in the community, teaching friends about gender equity, and passing school exams. Everyone had diverse and personal goals that made creating these SMART goals even more fun!

Following the creation of the goal wheel, players did the human knot activity. This is where they will form a circle and hold hands with two different people on the opposite side of the circle. Working as a team, players needed to untangle the knot by communicating and working together to change the position of players until they were in a perfect circle again. 

To finish the session off, players took one of the goals that they made on the goal wheel and make it SMART using a worksheet that split this acronym into sections. Players spent time thinking of how their goal could be specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely. Coaches provided their own completed SMART goals that they had created during their training session as aids for players to understand the concepts better. In the end, players had taken their simple goal and added all the specific parts of SMART in order to have a completed goal in the end. 


Throughout the workshop, coaches encouraged players to make goals that they could achieve within the next year. This kept the players on track and with goals that they could work towards in the short term on their way toward long-term goals like becoming doctors and lawyers. The youth were learning so much that it was clear that we could have easily had the workshop for 3 full hours. Luckily, we will be focusing on SMART goals at the start of every year. This will give players the room to continue to learn and improve their SMART goal making.


Esther Iyamuduhaye, 16, KPI girl “My goal is to become a banana seller. I will make this SMART by planting bananas on small land my parents gave me, sell to every shop in Gatagara and in the 3 markets, use the money I make to pay health insurance for my family and I will do this within the next 3 months”


Fabrice Niyonsenga, 22, Alumni “My goal is to study in university. Specifically I would like to studybusiness administration and marketing. This goal is attainable because I currently study accounting and this will help me prepare for business administration. This will be relevant because I would be able to get a job in their field and improve my life. I will achieve this goal by studying hard and earning money for university and hope to do this within 3 years.”

Chantal Motuyimana, 16, KPI girl “My goal is to be a police woman. I can make this come true by passing my national exams. To do this I will study hard in all my lessons and recite subjects that I have trouble with from 6-12pm each day. I will also go to other schools to obtain other knowledge. This will all be done within one month.”