Football in Zaatari refugee camp

Football in Zaatari refugee camp

Release Date: 17 June 2020

Context

AFDP Global and the UEFA Foundation for Children are helping people displaced by the conflict in Syria, particularly children and young people living in Zaatari refugee camp.

The UEFA Foundation for Children took over and develop this project since 2015. This legacy project started with UEFA in September 2013. 

Project content

The UEFA foundation and its partner AFDP Global provide weekly sporting activities for displaced Syrian boys and girls, ensuring a fun and safe environment for training and competitive activities. These activities are not limited to football, but also include judo, Zumba and table tennis. The project will continue to support the Syrian coaching and management team established in the camp to provide football activities for children and young people. Sport is used to raise awareness of social issues and impart the life skills necessary in the context. Continuous training for skills development will also be provided. Proper supervision of the children taking part in the programme will be ensured, with appropriate role models. This will ensure the continuity of the project.

Objectives

Engaging Syrian children and young people

To provide football and other sports activities in an appropriate, safe and supervised environment, allowing children to enjoy their childhood. In addition to playing and spending time together, the youngsters will learn football skills and the fundamental values of sport such as respect, fair play, team spirit and solidarity. They will also receive education on specific social issues.

Training Syrian football coaches and referees

To provide training for Syrian refugees on how to run football coaching sessions, equipping them with the skills required to manage a league and run football clubs, with specific classes on refereeing.

Integrating a life skills curriculum

To teach coaches how to best use the values of sport to facilitate children’s personal development and raise their awareness of certain social issues, with a particular focus on conflict resolution, early marriage, birth control and the importance of schooling, health, hygiene and well-being.

Maintaining established football clubs and league

To support administrators and coaches, ensuring that they have the capacity to maintain the football clubs and league established by the project in previous years. 

Project activities

Infrastructure and training material

The UEFA foundation, in cooperation with AFDP Global, has contributed to the construction of a sports centre. Known as the House of Sport, it is a place for social activities and a safe environment where children and young people can have fun and make friends, especially those who are interested in football.

  • Since the beginning of the project, 20,000 footballs, 20,000 T-shirts, caps and backpacks, 5,000 pairs of shoes and 1,000 training kits (cones, plates, bibs, stopwatches, whistles, etc.) have been distributed for 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 upgraded to artificial turf and are fully equipped for football matches.
  • Eleven containers of various material (sportswear, balls, etc.) have been provided by the UEFA foundation.

Football pitch

Pursuing the aim of providing a safe environment for the beneficiaries of the project, the UEFA foundation, in cooperation with AFDP Global and the Jordanian Football Association, contributed to the conversion to artificial turf of a full-size football pitch (in 2017) and a small pitch for girls (in 2018), with the financial support of LAY’S.

Four containers were sent from the Netherlands with artificial turf, construction material (including geotextiles, adhesive, tape, a tractor and other maintenance equipment), and pitch equipment such as goals and corner flags.

 

Figures (November 2019)

  • Some 250 adult refugees – including 87 women and 163 men – have already benefitted from the coaching education offered by the foundation, equipping them with the necessary skills to become good coaches and therefore to supervise and organise sporting and football activities such as weekly training and tournaments. Twenty-seven of these coaches are currently working for the project and the others for other non-governmental organisations in the camp.
  • Experts appointed by the UEFA foundation and AFDP Global have already run workshops on refereeing, trauma recovery, sport as a tool for social cohesion, early marriage and conflict resolution. Some 54 referees have been trained, of whom 21 are women.
  • Around 5,110 children and young people – boys and girls – regularly take part in the weekly sports activities and monthly football tournaments supervised by qualified male and female educators. This peaked at 7,137 young Syrians in October 2019 – 4,947 boys and 2,190 girls aged between 8 and 20.
  • Monthly football tournaments are organised in the camp for the age groups under-13, under-15 and under-20. An average of 1,000 children and young people aged 8 to 20, including 300 girls, take part in the monthly tournaments. The highest number of participants was 1,580 in March 2019.
  • Monthly events are organised for under-8s, with an average of 100 children participating.
  • Men’s teams can use the field for two hours per day.
  • Apart from football, other sports and activities are organised. Some 340 boys regularly do judo (age groups under-13 and under-15), over 180 boys and girls participate in table tennis activities (age groups under-13 and under-15), and 300 girls take Zumba classes.

Expected results

  • Coaching and football activities to be organised for a total of 2,800 boys and 1,800 girls between the ages of 8 and 20.
  • Monthly football tournaments to be organised in the camp, with an average of 1,000 participants aged 8 to 20, including 300 girls.
  • More than 18 men’s teams to be provided with the facilities to play football daily and tournaments to be organised for them.
  • Other daily sports and activities to be organised, offering a greater diversity of activities to the beneficiaries, including judo, table tennis and Zumba.
  • A team of 13 male and 13 female staff to be maintained. They will use sport, and football in particular, as a tool for social cohesion and conflict resolution, and will be responsible for managing teams for the different age groups.
  • External events to be organised, boosting social impact through awareness and increased friendship-building opportunities.

Partner

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