16 October 2018

From Friday, 5th October to Sunday, 7th October, young leaders from five Eastern European countries gathered in the Ukrainian city of Kharkiv for a seminar – with a kick!


Joining the event were 70 young football enthusiasts from 17 districts of the Ukraine and over 20 young people from streetfootballworld network member Cross Cultures Project Association (CCPA) programme sites in Armenia, Moldova, Azerbaijan and Georgia, as well as the organisations 'GOALS Armenia', 'Sport for Development Azerbaijan' and 'League of Tolerance Ukraine'.


The seminar was hosted by FC Metalist 1925 and took place at the club’s training ground. Yevgeniy Stolitenko, National Coordinator of the project "Open Fun Football Schools" at the Football Federation of Ukraine, commented: "It is a great honour for us to welcome young leaders from different countries to enable them to share their knowledge and for us to give them an impression of the work we are doing in Ukraine to build a more inclusive society through football.”


The three-day seminar was funded by the German Federal Foreign Office within the project ‘Dialogue, Stabilisation & Social Integration’ and has enabled the extension of an existing EuropeAid funded project of the European Commission, to be scaled beyond the original target country of Ukraine to also reach children and young people in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, and the Republic of Moldova. streetfootballworld is coordinating the implementation with CCPA, an organisation with many years of project experience in the Southern Caucasus region and Eastern Europe, as well as the Football Federation of Ukraine (FFU) and the All Ukrainian Foundation for Children's Rights (AUFCR).


Against the backdrop of the ongoing conflict in eastern Ukraine and the displacement of more than one million people, the project aims to promote social stability, instigate social dialogue and, above all, to support children and adolescents affected by the tensions in the region. In particular, young people from marginalised or financially disadvantaged communities lack access to safe spaces to play places and the opportunities for exchange.


During his opening speech, Peter Schmahl, Permanent Representative at the German Consulate-General Dnipro, commented: "The German Federal Government gladly supports such initiatives that bring young people together to exchange ideas, learn from one another and work together towards a mutual goal – with football as the combining force, transcending all divides.”


During the seminar, the participants received training in leadership skills and the football3 methodology, which will now serve as an asset for their own football sessions. They also took part in workshops on the implementation of events and in fundraising, during which they developed a project plan for their own event and formulated a so-called elevator pitch to potential sponsors.


Tstone Khetsuriani, Georgia's 22-year-old participant, concluded, "My conviction that football can trigger important social changes has been confirmed. His compatriot, 22-year-old David Kipiane, added enthusiastically: "I've learned so much about how football can bring people together!"


Overall the seminar was a wonderful opportunity for young people across the Ukraine and Eastern Europe and the Caucuses to come together and develop their skills to strengthen their communities and foster reconciliation using football.


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