Location and general information

Location Indonesia
Start date 01/01/2020
End date 12/31/2020
Cost of the project € 727,177
Foundation funding € 144,500
Project identifier 2019854
Partners The Arsenal Foundation and Save the Children
Categories Access to Sport - Personal development


More than a million children between the ages of 10 and 17 live in Jakarta. The city is home to 300 slum communities, where many girls and boys live on less than one US dollar a day. Children living in these dense slum communities are often forced to work from a young age. Many scavenge on landfill sites, work in fisheries or undertake daily labour in order to earn money for their families. In doing so they often miss out on school and other vital developmental opportunities. Subsequently, many are forced into working long hours, sometimes in multiple jobs and exposed to exploitative situations.

Societal gender expectations dictate that girls perform domestic chores such as housekeeping and taking care of younger siblings. As a result, girls are often isolated from peers, with limited access to education. One in six Indonesian girls are married before they reach the age of 18.

In 2018, the Arsenal Foundation and Save the Children teamed up to design Coaching for Life. This innovative programme sees Arsenal combine its expertise in coaching and delivery with Save the Children’s extensive experience in supporting children living in some of the most challenging environments in the world.

Project content

Building on combined experience and expertise, the project aims to help children develop their resilience and vital life skills and support them in maintaining positive relationships. To this end, Arsenal is leveraging its coaching experience in London, where it has long used football as a tool to engage with some of the hardest-to-reach young people in the city.

Coaching for Life is delivered exclusively through football and on-pitch sessions, which are also informed by Save the Children’s expertise in child protection and resilience building.

The programme is based on the principle that children and young people have the ability to overcome difficulties and learn new skills to cope with future adversities using their own internal resources. The key skills for building resilience naturally occur in football and are embedded within this programme.


Leah Williamson visits Coaching for Life in Jakarta


At the core of the programme is the sustainability of its impact for children. Therefore, it is necessary to work with all influencers in a child’s life and include strategies to ensure long-term changes are adopted. The programme has five key objectives:

  1. To build children’s resilience, supporting them to cope with the stresses they currently face and will face in years to come.
  2. To provide support services and safe spaces to play. In Indonesia, the programme is linked to the government-led Child Friendly Cities Initiative and has been designed to support the government to achieve its targets to make Jakarta a safe and protective environment for children.
  3. To increase the capacity of caregivers and communities to support children’s resilience and well-being.
  4. To elevate the voices of girls and boys affected by physical and emotional distress, empowering them to influence policy and practice in their communities.
  5. To use the impact of the programme to influence the future practice of others.

Project activities

Building resilience through football coaching sessions:

  • Delivered during 20 weekly two-hour sessions. Children explore topics such as emotions, communication skills, conflict management and decision making.
  • Six-week bespoke coaching education delivered by Arsenal coaches.
  • Support and mentoring throughout the programme.

Providing safe spaces and support services:

  • The refurbishment of football pitches provides safe spaces for children. Mechanisms will be put in place to protect children from violence and exploitation.
  • Access to local support services and further training including psychological first aid.

Training for parents and caregivers, including an outreach campaign for girls’ participation in sport

Thinking to the future: A robust monitoring, evaluation, accountability and learning framework is being implemented. The outcomes will be used to promote the model and disseminate best practices widely.

Expected results

  • The monitoring and evaluation framework will assess Coaching for Life’s impact on children’s resilience and well-being, the children’s sense of belonging to the programme and the importance of trusted adults and trained coaches. The reasons why change has (or has not) come about will be established and actionable recommendations will be identified from independent research to further improve the Coaching for Life model.
  • The monitoring and evaluation framework will also assess to what extent sports interventions contribute to improving resilience and whether they help or hinder the development of resilience skills compared with programmes following the same methodology without the added sports component.
  • Arsenal coaches will train 35 coaches in Jakarta, Indonesia.
  • Over 1,000 children will directly participate in Coaching for Life. The resilience through football coaching sessions are delivered through 20 weekly two-hour sessions.
  • Seven pitches will be renovated and maintained. The football pitches provide a safe space for children. Mechanisms will be put in place to protect children from violence and exploitation.
  • Some 1,500 parents and caregivers will participate, enhancing their ability to support their children’s well-being. Parents also play an important role in driving gender equality in their communities.
  • Children will be empowered to influence practice and policy, by including the voices of children affected by conflict and violence in the decision-making process to bring about long-term changes.
  • Proof of impact will be established so that Coaching for Life can be reproduced on a larger scale.


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