20 September 2016

streetfootballworld is driven by the belief that it takes a team to win a game. That's why collaboration and cooperation run through to everything we do. But while this philosophy is central to our organisation, it is by no means unique to our organisation. Many members of our global network also come together on the same team, sharing knowledge and exchanging ideas. 

 

One such example comes from Fotbal Pro Rozvoj and Sport the Bridge—two organisations that recently teamed up to usher in a new era of football for good in the Czech Republic. Fotbal Pro Rozvoj have been kind enough to share their experience of the collaboration below.

 

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Football for good has a rich history of exchanges between Kenyan and Czech youth. Many stories, memories and friendships have been created over the past 10 years. It's been a positive journey so far. But we wanted to go one step further and show people the full power of football as a force for good. Football, as the most popular sport in the world, brings people together. It raises many strong emotions and, when tied to development issues, it becomes a tool for youth workers to pass important life messages to their youngsters through a simple, popular game.

 

So how has football played a positive role in our context? 

 

Let's go back to the very beginning, when we weren't yet aware of the collaboration and friendship about to be established between two organisations. It all started with an experience for the now head of the football for good project, Štepán Kyncl, who volunteered at streetfootballworld's Respect your Health Eurocamp in 2012. Around 250 young people from disadvantaged social backgrounds from all 53 UEFA nations joined the event for five days of football, education and fun. It was the perfect opportunity to interact with like-minded individuals and, among other participants, Štepán met Samuel Bieri—who is a representative of the Swiss organization Sport the Bridge.

 

What started as a friendship soon turned into a realisation of similar thinking and ideas. Both had their own experience and skills, working on their own projects in their home countries. Similar topics and target groups, different experiences and approaches.

 

And so a new collaboration was born: Football as a Bridge for Inclusion of Youth at Risk. With support from the Czech-Swiss contribution programme, the initiative was divided into three seminar meetings with Swiss experts, our football for good team and youth workers from the Czech Republic.

 

Officially, we call them seminar meetings, but they have proven to be more than that. They were gatherings of new and old friends, people with similar points of view, trying to put ideas together and find new, creative ways of bringing children from different backgrounds together and using football to teach them important life lessons. 

 

This was not just about fulfilling our work duties but rather realising our own personal beliefs and longings to be part of the change we want to see in the world. We wanted to turn football into a tool for youth workers to use on a daily basis.

 

And what were the outcomes?

 

In general, we can say that thanks to the programme and partnership we fulfilled the message of this year: football is more than you think. This message turned into a whole initiative guided by a new set of tools and techniques. 

 

Together, we created a completely new concept. We developed year-round activities in the name of football for good and learned of possibilities for expanding our project internationally thanks to the Swiss experts who shared their wisdom. They pointed out potential problems and played significant roles in creating the basis for a new concept.

 

We managed to develop a football for good toolkit, which will be of great help for Czech social workers who want to incorporate football into their activities. We also made a short documentary film demonstrating how the project works in practice.

 

Last but not least, thanks to the changes made while running the project and the fact that Sport the Bridge is the member of the streetfootballworld network, we were able to properly prepare a request for our own membership as well. And in July we were proudly admitted to the streetfootballworld network ourselves.

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