Community development through soccer
Soccer (aka football) is more than just a fun, popular, international sport. It plays a role in international development by funding global education, effecting positive social change and producing renewable energy.
Soccer and society
Soccer is unique in that it crosses all geographic, ethnic and religious boundaries. While almost everyone on this planet knows of, plays or has watched others play football, aside from goals scored and long-standing team rivalries, rarely do we hear about the more important value and ability of this and other sports to effect positive social change.
Soccer and education
With traditional forms of foreign assistance falling short, education advocates are looking for an innovative approach to financing global education and the answer seems to be soccer.
Soccer and energy
The ball absorbs the energy of impact, stores it and later makes the energy available to power a light bulb, charge a cell phone, or well, you get the idea. The ball has already been piloted in the community and further development is being funded by many youth humanitarian programme initiatives.
With these principles in mind, Elite Soccer Development Africa has set up a project in Kempton Park on the outskirts of Johannesburg, South Africa. As part of the project, a team for participants was set up. Young men could only be part of the team if they underwent random rapid diagnostic tests for alcohol and drug use. They also had access to a vocational training programme and life skills training. Soccer coaches were trained to deliver training sessions and educational audio visual slides.
Instead of using physical alone, they were taught the fundamentals of behaviour change. They used informal conversations, real world situations and role plays to encourage social behaviours. The young men were assessed at the beginning of the programme and then six months later placed under a group of young stars.
The thinking is that sport could help young men develop the habits needed to maintain their social health, community development and secure a job. These skills include:
- Developing consistent daily routines
- Staying drug free
- Forming healthy relationships
- Being sociable
- Being able to solve problems, set goals, resolve conflict and honour commitments