“There is a desperate need to protect childhood through football. Children around the world need our help to stand up and shout NO MORE ADULT AGENDAS – LET THEM PLAY”. Ernie Brennan (Founder / Children’s Football Alliance).
Children’s football week is the perfect opportunity for families, schools, clubs and organisations to raise awareness of the children’s game and how important it is that we (adults) recognise the good that can be benefited from play and social inclusion. Whether you want to raise money to support good causes or simply participate in the multitude of children’s football formats, Children’s Football Week is a platform to support their game across all cultures and generations.
The following pictures and stories are from founder members of the children’s football alliance they took part in this year’s Children’s Football Week. They all share a common humanity and understanding that play is as important as life itself. Children need to play football without borders, without flags, without prejudice, without politics and most importantly children need to have FUN, with or without adults.
UGANDA YOUTH SOCCER ACADEMY
“It was a great pleasure to participate in the Children’s Football Week here in Kampala Uganda, our project during the week was to give an opportunity to all children living in the Ugandan slums and streets play football for fun and give them hope that they have a right to play never mind the playing conditions and facilities available and football game is NOT war but fun, our project was very successful with the guest appearance of our own Ugandan international footballer Henry Kalungi who currently plays professional football in USA with Richmond Kickers football club and also playing with the Ugandan national team who was in the country to play for the national team in the world cup qualifiers against Angola and Senegal and also Africa Cup of Nations Qualifier against Congo Brazzaville and he was a very big living testimony after he played football for fun during his childhood, he used it as a platform to get a soccer scholarship to study in USA and later turned professional and he encouraged the children in UYSA to continue playing no matter the dusty fields they play on and limited facilities and funding to our project they will one day make it in life, we also had 5 television station cover our event we would like to thank the NFCA for giving us this opportunity to give these children this platform to play football for fun at early age no matter the limited funding and poor facilities and looking forward through the NFCA to attract more partners to help us with this project.”
Ivan Kakembo (UYSA Academy Country Director)
Name of club/organisation: Slumsoccer-Krida Vikas Sanstha
Name and roles of people leading the project:
Homkant Surandase (Program Director & Coach)
Khushalo Darbeshwar (Coach)
* How did the event come about?
I was informed about this event by Ernie Brennan founder of the ICFA.
* Why was the project seen as important?
It allowed to reach to a newer audience and their caretakers.
* What were the aims of the project?
To reach out to 100 new children who never had a chance to play football. To engage their caretakers in the process so that they understand how development occurs through participating in our programs
Making it happen
* What were the key actions you took to make this project happen?
We spoke to the teachers and care givers at the Rescue Centre for Children of commercial sex workers and found out about their level of awareness about development through sports. We found out that if we want to make this project sustainable we need to train not just the participants but also their teachers and care givers. So we designed to program keeping these two elements in mind, firstly introducing kids to a new fun activity and show teachers how effectively this works.
* Did you have involvement from any media, and if so, how did you make this happen?
No we did not involve any media.
* What, if anything, did the NCFA do to help?
I had a skype call with Ernie who explained to me the outline of this program.
* What happened?
For 5 days Slumsoccer coaches trained the teachers and interacted with the children, introducing them to football in a fun way. At the end of the program we had a small football festival .
* Did you meet the aims of the project?
Yes. The children absolutely enjoyed the games and learnt new skills. A short feedback reflected that they were very keen on being involved on a regular basis. The teacher and care-givers on the other hand became aware of efficacy of such methods.
* What do you think the impact was in terms of family participation?
As the care-givers and teachers become more aware we are sure that this will spread to their families. We will continue this program to see how families will react to it.
* What kind of publicity did the event generate?
We were able to garner support from other organizations who were interested in working in this specific locality but did not have direct access. The local media published an article.
* Did you raise any money?
Yes we were able to cover all the costs for this program by approaching individual donors.
* What did you learn from the project?
We learned that in order to be a success this project would be needing involvement of all the stake holders. A sustained approach over a longer period of time would be needed to get desirable results. Children from this locality are a bit different that normal kids as the environment they grow up in is not conducive to a proper upbringing, so it lay an additional responsibility on the coach.
* What went well?
The participation although low initially really picked up and there was more than 100 children, the teachers and staffs were sceptical initially but soon came around. The last day football festival created a lot of excitement amongst the participants as well as the staff.
* What, if anything, would you do differently next time
Have it for a longer period of time. Involve more family, now that we have an approach to them. Have more coaches.
* If you had to pick one thing you did that made this project work, what would it be?
Complete dedication of Slumsoccer coaches.
Poulton AFC – Gloucestershire
On a lovely sunny morning Poulton AFC in conjunction with the NCFA held a fun football morning involving 20 children.
The morning started with some fun warm up games before the children decided what they wanted to do. They chose to have a world cup with 4 teams of 5 – all teams played each other followed by a final and a 3rd place play off.
The teams the children chose were; Spain, Brazil, China & Portugal.
The children refereed their own games and Spain was the eventual winner.
The players chose not to wear any bibs and only have cones for goals and no side lines.
The Poulton AFC/NCFA project has now been running for three years and has 30 members, mixed ages 5-11, all play together with the older children helping the younger ones. The season runs from September to April and meet once a week.
They do not play in any leagues but play informal football which is made up of fun warms up games and matches.
Next year we are being joined by a number of children from a school that caters for pupils with severe or profound and multiple learning difficulties. This will then make it a club that truly is football for all.
ARSENAL POSITIVE FUTURES
Brief description of the project
Under 11s girls and boys small sided games featuring a round robin tournament.
Name of club/organisation: Arsenal Positive Futures
Name: Tony David (Project Manager) firstname.lastname@example.org
As NCFA stakeholders Arsenal Positive Futures are proud to support National Children’s Football Week (NCFW). We consider NCFW important in terms of social inclusion and providing children from Islington an opportunity to experience playing football with children from Faversham, Kent. Small sided games and round robin tournaments where refereed by young assistant coaches. The primary aim was to facilitate children’s football for fun in an environment free from a win at all costs.
A team of Arsenal Community Coaches recruited players and parents from their neighbourhood programmes, providing transport and football kits. Arsenal Football Club’s website, Faversham News and Faversham Times all agreed to cover the event when an NCFA press release was sent to them promoting NCFW. The NCFA provided the press release outline, online posters and stickers.
Over 60 children attended the event for free hosted by Faversham Town Elizabethans Football Club sponsored by Swale Borough Council. Sainsbury’s Faversham provided healthy food options for the children. 60% girls and 40% boys participated in mixed ability football. In terms of family participation many parents helped provide transport and actively helped set up the event. At the end of the games Arsenal Positive futures presented the children with participation medals.
Children learn sportsmanship and how to play the game at their level. Age appropriate football lent itself to more touches on the ball and lots of goals. The event generated a feel good factor on and off the pitch. It was a form of football that only children know how to play.
CHILDREN’S FOOTBALL WEEK STARTS HERE.