Location and general information
School children in Albania face complex challenges reflecting the country’s long and difficult political transition in the early 1990s. In conjunction with Save the Children’s existing programmes, this project aims to tackle two main issues:
- unhealthy lifestyles and exclusion;
- discrimination against the most deprived children, including children with disabilities, girls, minorities and those experiencing
Many schoolchildren in Albania have health risk factors due to poor nutritional status, unhealthy diet, poor eating habits and inadequate physical activity. Some schools still fail to meet the obligatory three hours of physical exercise a week, mainly due to lack of infrastructure. Only one third of the 37 schools surveyed have teachers trained in physical education, and 60% do not assess children’s physical abilities.
Bullying is common among schoolchildren and is one of the most overt forms of violence against them. Teachers reported that about 70% of schoolchildren and teens were bullied by their peers because of their physical appearance, weight or clothes (National Survey on Bullying and Violent Extremism in the Education System of Albania, Council of Europe 2017).
A strategy for the development and promotion of teaching – School as a Community Centre – was introduced for the period 2014–2020. The aim is to achieve friendly schools for all. Schools should be transformed into places where partnerships are created between families, schools and communities to develop the full potential of each pupil.
However, the concept is difficult to put into practice, as teachers and administrators admit that the lack of equipment and infrastructure is often an obstacle to performing their work and turning their schools into community centres.
The project aims to contribute to a better school environment that promotes and supports healthy lifestyles to enable children to develop their full potential. It is based on the idea that sports, and especially football, play a crucial role in helping people develop healthy practices and attitudes and in improving treatment of the most deprived children.
The overall aim of the project is to promote and support healthy lifestyles in school environments in Albania. Its objective is to provide children aged 6 to 14 in three regions of Albania with equal access to sports facilities and a healthy childhood.
The support of the UEFA Foundation for Children will help to improve the accessibility and quality of sport facilities for children in Albania. Additionally, training sessions on healthy practices, diets and physical activity will improve teachers and educators' skills and their teaching methodologies. The project will also focus on the involvement of children in sport activities and on the promotion of inclusiveness and social acceptance in communities through sport. Other components of the project include:
- support for mini sports clubs that offer children activities in a variety of disciplines;
- capacity building to give sports teachers ways to nurture life skills through sports;
- workshops with parents and children on the benefits of sports for a healthy lifestyle.
Improvements in the health, academic and social outcomes of school-aged children are expected. Other expected outcomes include:
- a one-week event to promote the importance of sports for child wellbeing;
- parent information sessions to raise awareness of the importance of education and physical activity;
- improved playgrounds, gyms and sport facilities;
- a football championship.