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Football unites us: sports and humanitarian assistance

Harnessing the power of football to bring children and youth from Lebanon's different communities together.

The power of football

Football brings the world together - and War Child has teamed up with Right To Play and Dutch football association the KNVB to harness its unifying power. Our new Sports and Humanitarian Assistance (SAHA 2) project works to develop the leadership skills of young people in Lebanon to bring different communities closer together.

Lebanon has seen its population increase by nearly a third over the past seven years with the arrival of more than one million Syrian refugees. Tension between host communities and refugees is high - limiting life chances for all youth in Lebanon. Jobs are scarce and young people struggle to find a place in society.

The SAHA 2 Sports and Humanitarian Assistance project is designed to address these issues. The project sees War Child work in partnership with Right To Play and the KNVB to develop the leadership skills of a new generation of youth in Lebanon. This efforts will promote community cohesion.

Football and sporting activities play a key role in the project. Some 300 local youth leaders will receive training in football coaching from qualified KNVB coaches. These participants will organise sporting tournaments and activities for some 3,500 children from all communities across Lebanon - more than 40 per cent of whom will be girls.

Life skills

These sporting activities will develop the talents of the participating youth - and serve to bring different communities closer together. Young people’s talents will be further developed through life skills sessions organised by War Child and Right To Play. All children and youth will receive training to develop their leadership skills - and 80 participating volunteers will be encouraged to form local Youth Committees. These committees will develop and roll out initiatives to improve their communities.

Promoting local unity and peace

All of these activities will be supplemented with efforts to secure the support of the wider community. Youth leaders will give presentations on child protection issues to community leaders. Parents and caregivers will be supported to take part in local child protection initiatives. And ‘Safe Spaces’ will be created where children and youth can learn and play to the fullest extent.

This new project represents the second phase of the Sports and Humanitarian Assistance initiative funded by the Dutch government. Project outcomes will be closely monitored to ensure effectiveness and uphold the ongoing sustainability of all project activities.

All of these efforts will promote peace and bring the various communities in Lebanon - including Syrian and Palestinian refugee communities - together.

Because football unites us.

Programme partners

- Right To Play - www.righttoplay.com
- KNVB Worldcoaches - www.worldcoaches.nl/en