Location and general information
The Asian Football Development Project (AFDP) and the UEFA Foundation for Children are helping people displaced by the conflict in Syria, particularly children and young people living in the Zaatari refugee camp.
The UEFA Foundation for Children organises football tournaments and other sports events. In particular, it has set up a football league inside the camp. To do so, it set up teams organised into ‘clubs’ and offers them regular training sessions. The camp’s trained coaches oversee all these activities. In addition to playing and spending time together, the youngsters also learn football skills and assimilate fundamental values of sport such as respect, fair play, team spirit and solidarity.
Training local coaches
The UEFA Foundation for Children trains and certifies local coaches – Syrians and Jordanians between 20 and 40 years of age. Most of them already work for other organisations inside the camp and are already involved in sporting, educational or recreational activities. Offering them specific training allows them to develop their skills and will improve their employability, not only inside the camps but also once the Syrian crisis is over, thereby ensuring the continuity of the project. It also ensures proper supervision of the children taking part in the programme and provides them with role models.
Providing equipment and infrastructure
The UEFA Foundation for Children supports organisations that are already active inside the camp by providing equipment for sports activities and training. That equipment is mostly balls, kit and shoes, as well as whistles, stopwatches, cones and technical manuals for the coaches. During tournaments, all the young participants receive water, snacks and a souvenir.
Good infrastructure is also needed so that sport can be played in a suitable and safe environment. The foundation is doing up all the existing facilities. Zaatari already had a dozen football pitches for the children to play on, but they were not always in a fit state and the activities they were used for were badly organised and rarely included girls.
Integrating through sport
The UEFA Foundation for Children has created a specific programme for the refugees based on their needs. The programme is tailored to the Zaatari context and aims to do more for the young people than just giving them the opportunity to play sport. To that end, the coaches receive specific training that allows them to use the benefits of sport to support the young people in everyday life. This training uses a fun and educational approach to address social issues and to focus, in particular, on conflict resolution and raising awareness of early marriages, birth control, the importance of school, health, hygiene and well-being.
- Engage children and young Syrians (girls and boys) by organising football and other sports activities in an appropriate, safe and supervised environment where they can remain children and have some fun. In addition to playing and spending time together, the youngsters also learn football skills and assimilate fundamental values of sport such as respect, fair play, team spirit and solidarity, and are also educated on specific social issues.
- Train Syrian football coaches and referees, teaching them how to run football coaching sessions but give them also the skills to organise a league and run football clubs. Specific classes focus on refereeing.
- Integrate a specific life-skills curriculum based on the context and needs. The coaches learn how to best use the values of sport to encourage the children’s personal development and raise their awareness of certain social issues. The curriculum uses a fun and educational approach to address social issues and to focus, in particular, on conflict resolution and raising awareness of early marriages, birth control, the importance of school, health, hygiene and well-being.
- Establish football clubs and a league in the camp. Once implemented, the trained Syrian coaches and referees will be able to run the clubs and the league by themselves.
- Provide equipment and infrastructure. Building of a sports centre inside the camp and upgrading of the football pitch into artificial turf providing a reliable infrastructure and safe zone for the children to play. The UEFA Foundation for Children also supports agencies that are already active inside the camp by providing equipment for sports activities and training.
Infrastructure and training material
The UEFA Foundation for Children, in cooperation with the AFDP, has contributed to the construction of a sports centre. Known as the House of Sport, it is a place for social activities, a safe environment where children and young people can have fun and make friends, and somewhere for those who are interested in football.
- Since the beginning of the project, 20,000 footballs, 10,000 T-shirts, caps and backpacks, 5,000 shoes and 1,000 training kits (cones, plates, bibs, stopwatches, whistles, etc.) have been distributed for the sports activities.
- At each tournament 1,000 snacks and 2,000 bottles of water are distributed.
- The coaches have also been fully equipped.
- The two main pitches used for tournaments have been fully equipped for football matches.
- Ten containers of various material (sportswear, balls, etc.) have been provided by the UEFA foundation.
Pursuing the aim of providing a safe environment for the beneficiaries of the project, the UEFA Foundation for Children, in cooperation with the AFDP and the Jordanian Football Association, has contributed to the conversion of a full-size football pitch to artificial turf with the support of the donor LAY’S.
- The work on-site to upgrade the pitch took two months.
- Two containers filled with artificial turf, construction material such as geotextile, adhesive, tape, maintenance equipment (including a tractor), and pitch equipment such as goals and corner flags were sent from the Netherlands.
- An unofficial opening ceremony took place on 29 May 2017, giving the youngsters the opportunity to start using the pitch.
Figures (July 2017)
- 250 adult refugees – including 87 women and 163 men – had already benefitted from the coach education offered by the foundation, giving them the necessary skills to become good coaches and therefore to supervise and organise sport and football activities – weekly training, tournaments and other events; 46 are currently working for the project and the others for the other NGOs that are active in the camp.
- Experts enlisted by the UEFA Foundation for Children and the AFDP ran workshops on refereeing, trauma recovery, sport as a tool for social cohesion, early marriages and conflict resolution. 54 referees were trained, including 21 women.
- Currently, 4,480 children and young people – 3,185 boys and 1,295 girls aged between 8 and 20 – regularly take part in the weekly sports activities and monthly football tournaments supervised by the qualified educators, both male and female.
- Monthly football tournaments are organised in the camp. In all, 30 girls’ teams (U13, U15 and U20) and 60 boys’ teams (U13, U15 and U24) have been created – with an average of 20 players per team.
- Since the project began, 40 tournaments have organised, amounting to 3,400 football matches.
- An average of 1,000 children and young people from 8 to 20 years of age, including 300 girls, take part in the monthly tournaments.
- Apart from football, other sports and activities are organised. 450 boys regularly do judo and 300 girls take Zumba classes.
- An average of 5,000 children and young people – boys and girls aged between 8 and 20 – regularly take part in the weekly sports activities and monthly football tournaments supervised by the qualified educators, both male and female.
- Monthly football tournaments are continually organised in the camp, with an average of 1,000 children and young people aged between 8 to 20, including 300 girls, participating.
Ayah, 14 years old