23 April 2018

This April began with a triumphant kick-off: the very first collaboration cycle between Common Goal members (including football players, managers) and organisations that are using football as a tool to advance social change in their communities. The allocation of the pledges from Common Goal members to 27 organisations was made public in March and represents a milestone for the field of football for good, positioning Common Goal as one of the largest initiatives for social change within the football industry.


The resources generated through Common Goal, over 400,000, will be used in two different streams: the first enables football players to team up with specific organisations successfully implementing football for good programmes to drive change related to specific social topics (e.g. advancing gender equality, promoting peacebuilding) or in geographic areas (communities, regions or countries) that they feel a connection to or address their social concerns. The second stream allows football players to support ‘Common Goal signature projects’ – projects that build upon collaboration between several organisations and Common Goal members and strive to advance the field of football for good. These initiatives don’t benefit just the organisations directly involved, but have the potential to improve the sustainability and quality of all football for good organisations interested in the topic they address. Pooling the resources, expertise and commitment of many Common Goal members and implementing organisations, these initiatives intensify the efforts of everyone involved to create a greater impact beyond its mere implementation. 


As part of Common Goal’s on-boarding process, members were invited to express their interest in supporting any of the streams mentioned above. They could, if they wished, support both streams, allocating different percentages of their pledges to either one of them. The football players’ pledges are accumulated in the Common Goal Fund and later transferred to all of the selected organisations. This procedure is carried out by streetfootballworld partner, King Baudouin Foundation. 


The overall process is supervised, discussed and approved by Common Goal’s governing body, the Common Goal Management Committee, which consists of Common Goal co-Founders Jürgen Griesbeck (streetfootballworld founder and CEO) and Juan Mata (Manchester United midfielder), Moya Dodd (former player for the Australia National Soccer Team, board member of the Football Federation Australia (FFA) and vice president of the AFC) and Luc Tayart de Borms (Managing Director of the King Baudouin Foundation). Their mandate is to take all necessary measures to guide the use of the Common Goal Fund, which includes the pledges of the Common Goal members. Following the recommendations of an expert group from streetfootballworld, the Common Goal Management Committee is the decision-making body on how Common Goal resources are allocated to different organisations or projects. 


Within the first Collaboration Cycle of Common Goal, 27 players have chosen to team up with one or more organisations. As a result, a total of 27 organisations will be part of a one-year collaboration cycle taking place from 1st April 2018 to 31st March 2019. It is worth mentioning that within the first cycle, the most addressed social topics chosen by Common Goal members are gender equality, social inclusion and quality education.


But what do we mean by “players teaming up with organisations”? In order to fully comprehend this idea, it is necessary to understand the team play nature of Common Goal. Over the last nine months, the movement has grown significantly and a great deal of progress has occurred. Nevertheless, what has been of key importance for Common Goal Founder Jürgen Griesbeck, and the team that works with him daily, is the idea that Common Goal is a team effort. As such, Common Goal strongly emphasises the importance of team play within the movement, moving from a classic donation scheme to one of collaboration. This approach acknowledges the great step that football players and managers have made and, equally, recognises the incredible work of hundreds of organisations over the past three decades to advance the field and change the lives of millions of young people worldwide. 


This approach has created powerful ‘players/managers-organisations tandems’ that will be making a sustainable contribution to the field. Some examples of these tandems include Giorgio Chiellini fighting to reduce inequalities with Balon Mundial in Italy; US International Alex Morgan teaming up with Iringa Development of Youth, Disabled and Children Care (IDYDC) in Tanzania; and Shinji Kagawa supporting three organisations in the Asia-Pacific region (Football for All Vietnam, FundLife International and Indochina Starfish Foundation) to provide quality education to disadvantaged youth. 


The other collaboration stream – the Common Goal signature projects – aligns several players and organisations behind high-impact initiatives that involve several organisations and players. The Common Goal signature projects emphasise the importance of collective power to achieve social change and draw their effectiveness from the collaboration of experts within the field. These organisations were invited to present ideas in 2017. All of these proposals were reviewed by a steering group of experts within streetfootballworld with the final decision taken by the Common Goal Management Committee. 


The first Common Goal signature projects involve 20 Common Goal members and 11 implementing organisations, and will be supported between April 2018 and April 2020. The selected initiatives are: Social Enterprise Initiative and Good Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM). Each project has a budget of €71,300.50.


Social Enterprise Initiative will be led by Kick4Life and involves the participation of Football United, Street Soccer USA, Sport4Life, Dream A Dream, and Tiempo de Juego over a two-year period. The project aims at developing resources and support around social enterprise, using Kick4Life’s experience to help other football for good organisations to set up and grow their own sustainable businesses, enabling them to ultimately extend the impact and reach of their work. Kick4Life Co-founder Steve Fleming said: "Common Goal is the most significant initiative in the history of football for good, so to be selected to lead this project is an honour and an important responsibility. We hope to achieve a lasting impact through the creation of resources and support that will enable organisations in our sector to become more sustainable.”


Good Menstrual Hygiene Management is a project led by WASH United and will involve the development and implementation of a Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM) Manual in cooperation with streetfootballworld network member, Slum Soccer. Following this pilot phase, WASH United will train three football for good organisations in India in the implementation of the MHM Guide – Yuwa, OSCAR and Dream a Dream, that will be implementing and testing the guide in their very diverse contexts: Yuwa works directly with girls in a very remote part of rural India, while Dream a Dream works through teachers and OSCAR Foundation employs a multiplier-approach through young leaders working as trainers. Through this project a total of 2,500 girls in India will be provided with MHM education in 2018. Furthermore, the tool will be available for other organisations that would like to incorporate this relevant topic in their work.  

This article appeared in FOOTBALL4GOOD Magazine Issue 6/April 2018. Read more stories here from the field of football for good here.
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