« Fotbal pro rozvoj » – New visions for youth work in Czech Republic

Swiss Sport – The Bridge members Samuel Bieri and Thierry Graf currently participate in a 3-day workshop on football for development in the Czech Republic. Organized by INEX-SDA, the workshop is part of a partnership programme set up between both organisations and funded by the Swiss-Czech Cooperation Programme. [25. February, Thierry Graf, Chotěboř, CZ]

The Czech association for voluntary activities INEX-SDA leads an annual one-month summer campaign together with Kenyan NGO Mathare Youth Sports Association (MYSA), where they organize football tournaments and other football for development activities in different regions of the Czech Republic. Starting in 2017 these activities should be expanded on several months during the year. Thus, a new concept has to be found.

In order to develop new concepts and concrete measures leading to the expansion of football for development activities, INEX-SDA initiated the partnership with Sport – The Bridge. It consists of three workshops happening between November 2015 and June 2016. Sport – The Bridge’s role is to transfer specific know-how on how to use football for tackling social issues (KRAFT model) as well as giving inputs on the implementation of the new expanded program (Laureus Street Soccer by infoklick.ch).

Workshop participants include project responsibles and volunteers from INEX-SDA, social workers from different regions of the Czech Republic as well as experts from both countries. In short, three main goals are on the agenda. First, provide social workers with a sport-pedagogical tool for their needs in the daily work with clients. Second, plan and implement a nation-wide street football league for youth at risk. Third, strengthen the cooperation between beneficiaries, young leaders, the Czech « low-threshold clubs » (similar to youth centres), INEX-SDA as well as international partners.

Štěpán Kyncl, project coordinator at INEX-SDA for «Fotbal pro rozvoj» (Football for Development) says: «I think the process is going well. Having the Swiss experts here is something new and unique for us and our partners. I feel that there is a lot of contribution and plenty of inspiration, as they have a lot of know-how and experience. They are also helpful in mirroring our thoughts assisting us to gain a critical view on our ambitions. The main principle of this partnership is to further develop football for development activities. From this point of view, I am happy that also our Swiss partner takes some inspiration back home. This all constitutes the big added value of this partnership. »

Interesting enough, the 2012 Eurocamp in Poland organized by streetfootballworld laid the ground for this Czech-Swiss partnership as volunteers from both organisations were involved there. Three years later, this friendship lead to launch a fruitful partnership. Moreover, it turned out that both organizations were indirectly linked through their ties with East African Sport and Development programmes. Sport – The Bridge runs a long-term programme for street children in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and INEX-SDA has a strong partnership with MYSA, one of the biggest sport association worldwide working with youths. As both African organisations work together in the East African streetfootballworld network, it became time for their European counterparts to strive for a direct partnership.

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