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The value of partnerships in sport for development


The value of partnerships in sport for development

Fotbal Pro Rozvoj presents some of the benefits of Swiss-Czech cooperation on projects.

Football for development has its own history full of great exchanges between the Kenyan and the Czech youth. Many new stories, memories and strong friendships have been created during these past 10 years. However, we wanted to go further and give people what football for development really is, as it is not just a programme which runs once a year for a month in different regions of the Czech Republic. Football in general - as the most popular sport in the world - brings people together and they carry it in their hearts. It raises many strong emotions and with the addition of development issues it is impossible to see Football for development just as another common project. It is a vision and a belief. It is a tool for youth workers to pass important life messages to their youngsters through a simple, popular game.

So how did football for development continue its own development?

Let's go to the very beginning, when we weren't even aware of a new collaboration and friendship that was about to be established between two organisations. It all started as a volunteering experience for the now head of the football for development project Štepán Kyncl who prepared mediation at Respect your Health Eurocamp 2012 organised by streetfoootballworld. Around 250 young people from disadvantaged social backgrounds from all 53 UEFA nations joined the event for five days of intercultural workshops, football, learning and fun. It was a perfect opportunity to meet similar minded people. It was an occasion which gave space to create, learn and share. Among other participants, Štepán met Samuel Bieri, who is a representative of the Swiss organisation Sport the Bridge.

It started as a friendship but it was followed by a realisation of similar and ideas. Both of them had their own experience and skills, working on their own projects in their home countries. Similar topics and target groups, different ideas, experience and approaches.

This is how the idea of collaboration between the two organisations was born and the upgrade began as a project called 'Football as a Bridge for Inclusion of Youth at Risk' supported by the Czech-Swiss contribution programme. Sharing of good practise was divided into three seminar meetings with Swiss experts, football for development team and the youth workers from the Czech Republic in the course of one year.

Oficially, we can call them seminar meetings, but it was more than just that. They were gatherings of new and old friends, people with similar points of view, trying to put ideas together and find a new, creative way of how to bring children from different backgrounds together and pass important life messages on them through football. To go further, it was not about fullfilling our work duties but about our own personal believes and longings for being part of the change we want to see in the world. We wanted to make football for development a tool and a technique used by youth workers on a daily basis with children and not just once a year when the Czech-Kenyan team of ambassadors comes around.


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Kateřina Mlynářová


Wednesday, September 7, 2016 - 23:00