Location and general information
On average, refugees spend eighteen years in a camp – without being able to learn, read or engage with society. Since 2007, BSF has been helping to connect refugees to the outside world, from Rohingyas in Bangladesh to Burundians in Tanzania, giving women, men, and children resources to combat boredom, cultivate resilience, and plan for the future. By promoting access to education, culture, and information, BSF aspires to give everyone the ability to be independent and free to flourish.
For the first time, with the support of the UEFA Foundation for Children, BSF is organising an eSports tournament at the Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan.
Tool for social cohesion. Nowadays, video games have their place in society and can even be found in libraries and museums. Video games can now earn more than movies or books. We believe that digital football matches can strengthen communities, build resilience, and promote social cohesion.
Video games in refugee camps?
Libraries Without Borders and the UEFA Foundation for Children wish to make a positive use of this cultural good for all. Hence the idea to organise the first eSports cup tournament for refugees using the FIFA 20 game.
Communication tool. Interactive and inclusive video games promote social cohesion: players bond, exchange and build a community regardless of their personal story. Games can stimulate imagination and creativity, immersing players in an alternative universe. At the same time, the physical setting of the tournament will be an opportunity to meet, learn about various challenges, and establish rules for living together.
The project targets girls and boys aged between 10 and 18 years old and will include youngsters with disabilities. Parents and caregivers will also be involved in the project through regular consultations, invitation to the final events and free use of game consoles provided by PlayStation.
Two weeks will be spent mobilising the community and selecting participants to take part in the training sessions and final e-tournament through vulnerability referrals from the education partners in the camp.
Selected participants will be required to take part in partners’ activities to encourage access to educational content and will be shortlisted for the final events during a qualification phase that takes account not only of their skill level but also their regular attendance and involvement in the partners’ activities. Various tournament leagues will be created, to ensure the inclusion of children with disabilities.
To ensure the project reaches a wider audience, dedicated time slots will be set aside for free use, enabling the rest of the community to access the resources.
The activities will be run in various locations around the camp to reach different sectors of the population and make it easier for children with disabilities to take part. The main location will be in the House of Sport run by the Association Football Development Program Global (AFDP Global) and there will be two smaller locations.
The programme is intended to provide recreational spaces for girls and boys in the Zaatari camp using the FIFA 20 game in an eSports competition. Designed as a pilot project, the outcomes will be carefully assessed to determine whether the approach could be duplicated in other suitable locations hosting vulnerable populations.
- Create recreational spaces for video gaming that will allow youngsters to be involved in activities, providing them with some respite from the difficulties of their daily lives, and that can be used by the partners as hubs for psychosocial, protection or educational activities.
- Give the opportunity to children with disabilities to participate to the e-tournament.
- Create inclusive spaces that enhance social cohesion in the communities and generate positive coping mechanisms through social interaction and using the video games.
- Raising the general public’s awareness of the reality of the camp life through the video game media campaign.
At the heart of this project: entertainment that promotes social cohesion
Set-up and qualifications
Two hundred youngsters, boys and girls from 10 to 18 years old, including disabled children, will compete in the final from 31 January to 1 February 2020.
Several training centres will be available for a month beforehand, where the children will have the opportunity to play and familiarise themselves with the FIFA 20 video console game. Qualifying matches will be held to create the pools for the final tournament, which will comprise different categories and age groups so that the participants can play more games. All sessions will be linked to educational activities in the camp.
The final is also the media moment of this programme. Local and international media and influencers will be invited to cover approximately two days of the event.
Side events will be organised with football sessions and freestyle courses.
To ensure the sustainability of the initiative, after the tournament at least 5 PlayStations will remain in the camp.
The project aims to attract a total of 350 children and teenagers to the training session and 1,500 people to the free-use activities. The programme aims at a gender balance and the inclusion of approximately 50 youngsters with disabilities.
This pilot project will be assessed and duplicated at the Cox's Bazar camp in Bangladesh.