LONDON, United Kingdom — In recent decades it has become more conventional for members of the African diaspora to partake in philanthropy to help the continent. In 2021, U.S. college footballer Ryan Glover launched a football clinic for children in Ghana, with the Kile’s World Foundation. Glover’s football clinic in Ghana is an initiative that Glover has continued to pursue this year and plans to carry on in future years.
Ryan Glover and the Kile’s World Foundation
Born in Atlanta, Georgia, Glover was born to parents in the entertainment industry and knew quite early on that he desired to pursue a different path. As such, Glover has attended a number of universities, namely the University of Pennsylvania, the University of California Berkeley, and currently, the University of Memphis playing football while studying financial analysis. Glover’s academic pursuits, passion for football and life experiences have in many ways contributed to his dedication to philanthropy. In an interview with The Borgen Project, Glover stated, “I’ve been all over the country, lived in many different places, and I think that this has given me different perspectives and taught me that giving back is important.”
The Kile’s World Foundation was established in 2013 by founder Tameka Foster Raymond, Glover’s mother, in honor of her late son Kile, Glover’s younger brother, who tragically passed away in a boating incident in 2012. Given that Kile had a passion for the arts, the foundation seeks to offer art-based camps for children to foster exploration and development in the field. Glover expressed how it made sense for him to partner with his mother and the foundation for the football camp — the foundation’s first global event after launching several art-based camps in the Atlanta area.
Goals and Outcomes of the Football Camps
In Ghana, Glover hoped to spread the word about football and teach children the fundamentals of the sport in a fun, engaging way. The camps involved the attendees completing drills and basic training, as demonstrated by Glover beforehand. During the event in March 2022, the Kile’s World Foundation gave the children clothing items like socks, shorts, jerseys and a pair of cleats. The foundation also provided snacks and meals during the day.
Looking back on the events of the past years, it is evident that Glover’s football clinic in Ghana has been successful. The camps have grown tremendously in the number of attendees, with the first camp hosting close to 100 children and the most recent camp hosting 213 children. Additionally, Glover maintains contact with at least 10 kids from the camps to date, giving advice to develop their football skills, particularly for those hoping to gain scholarships to study abroad in the U.S.
Glover explains that, even after the camps, “there are kids who send me videos every single week and they tag me just to show me that they are still working on their game. I love seeing stuff like that. It shows that I am having an impact.” Many of the children from his camps attended the recent NFL Africa Camp held in Ghana in June 2022, a testament to their grit to improve their game and gain more exposure.
Glover’s Thoughts on Philanthropy and Tackling Poverty
For Glover, philanthropy benefits everybody, both the donor and the recipient, noting the uplifting feeling that he experiences when giving. His trips to Ghana changed his life by showing him how people often take things for granted back at home. Seeing children who came to the camp with no socks or shoes depicted the disparity in access to basic necessities, prompting him to change the narrative.
Contrary to many beliefs that charity work only benefits the recipient, Glover’s experience working in Ghana served to benefit him personally too. Firstly, traveling to Ghana enlightened him about the beauty of the country, noting how it felt “like home.” He was also able to meet several lovely kids and connect with a plethora of welcoming Ghanaians. Put simply, Glover’s work in Ghana exposed him to new experiences and opportunities.
According to the World Bank, in 2016, about 13% of the population in Ghana lived on less than $1.90, the threshold daily salary that the World Bank uses to define extreme poverty. Glover’s football clinic in Ghana is contributing to the widespread efforts to tackle global poverty and inequality. In his words:
“I do think that spreading football can help poverty and inequality. To play football you have to go to college and I think that education is probably one of the most important things in terms of tackling poverty and inequality. ”
Glover’s football clinic with the Kile’s World Foundation is certainly not a one-off event. Having already hosted two consecutive camps in 2021 and 2022, Glover plans to host another next year, possibly branching out to other African countries, such as Tanzania. Glover expressed several plans that he hopes to implement next year.
In 2023, Glover hopes to offer every single attendee a pair of cleats. Also, he aims to combine both physical and mental training in contrast to previous camps that have only offered the physical aspect. This idea is one that Glover drew inspiration from in the recent NFL Africa Camp, an event that came about after the increased exposure of American football on the continent. Glover’s football camps with the Kile’s World Foundation were arguably instrumental in bringing about this increased exposure.
Ryan Glover’s football clinic in Ghana is providing sports facilities and contributing to global endeavors to reduce global poverty. His work exemplifies how people can translate their passions into means of helping those less fortunate.
– Claudia Efemini
Photo: Courtesy of Kile’s World Foundation