As near as in 1999 a wall was built to separate the Roma communities from the rest of the population in Usti nad Labem. The current situation in Karlovy Vary region is not so far from some similar solution. For five years already we have been trying to build bridges and develop civic cohesion in the region. We want to build a society where respect, tolerance and fair-play are played on and off the pitch. In order to achieve this, we transform the football pitch into a platform for dialogue.
Ústí nad Labem (Předlice), north of the Czech Rep., Kraslice, west of the Czech Rep.
We work together with a network of youth and social centers. Those centers are situated in the communities and regions that are lacking civic cohesion, namely in our case in Ústí nad Labem and Kraslice (Karlovy Vary region). In those communities, the young population is facing several types of risk, which hinders their emotional and social development. Those young people are more at risk of discrimination due to their ethnic, financial, or geographical backgrounds. They are also more at risk of falling into non-social activities such as petty crimes, substance abuse, or youth violence due to the lack of adapted educational measures, unfavorable family situations, and non-empowering living conditions.
Our primary target group includes around 500 young people aged 12 to 18 and living mostly in separated communities, as is the case of Ústí nad Labem, or in isolated parts of the country, as is the case with Kraslice (Karlovy Vary region). Those young people from diverse social backgrounds (lacking proper education, coming from families with low financial status, incomplete families) are mostly at risk of discrimination and isolation. Secondary, the families and adults within those families are influenced by our actions as we aim to change behaviour of the children and youth.
Our project is constructed in a yearly cycle:
1. Coordination meeting with the regional coordinators, setting up targets for the project (August - September)
2. Training of mediators & social workers (October) – education of social workers in the underdeveloped localities
3. Workshops in the regions for players (November – December) – workshops for players why we are playing football3 (three halves), workshops on becoming a mediator, workshops on leadership and teamwork, and also on developing life skills through football (self-confidence, communication etc. up to 17 soft skills)
4. Regional leagues of fair-play football for children and youth (January – June, September, October) – regular meetings of target group children and youth
5. Series of workshops and seminars for families of the youth and wider society - connection to the majority
6. Day of Fair Play Football - event for the wider public
6. National final with the winners of each fair-play leagues (September) – motivational element for children and youth
7. Evaluation meeting with the regional coordinators and representative social workers (October)
8. Impact measurement activities (January – June)
9. PR activities (October – October)
This cycle allows us to keep a quality standard in the activities we run. It also guarantees sustainability as we provide regular training to social workers.
• Increase in social cohesion thanks to the methodology focusing on the dialogue between players
• Decrease in youth rivalry, the creation of inter-neighbourhood friendships and more social sensitivity and integration
• Increase in the motivation from the involved regions, organisations and social workers.
• Increase the project visibility through the organisation
• Increase awareness about the cultural and social diversity in the regions
• Increase in gender equality and consideration of girls by boys. More active participation and acceptance of girls in the teams
• Increase forms of community role-modeling by the participating youth as they take on leadership roles during our league matches
• Increase in the self-confidence of participants through their regular participation
Football is a democratic tool and as such allows all people enough freedom within certain rules. If you can adhere to those rules while being able to find your own way, your own path, using your creativity, your ideas, and even your own rules, while working with and respecting others, then you are on the right track and it makes you a stronger and even a better person. We believe that in the current political climate, this society with people able to stand on their feet is extremely important, and with our activities, we are contributing to this process. This is extremely important in countries with relatively young democracies, as is the Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary, Slovakia. That is why we put special emphasis on our partners in Visegrad countries.
Fotbal Je (Fotbal pro rozvoj) contains 4 full-time persons located in Prague who work together, in this case of the two regions, with 4 regional coordinators, two for each region. Coordinators are supported by other social club workers while the whole project is further supported by others, e.g. local councils, donors, journalists, photographers, volunteers. Some of the positions are paid, others unpaid. There are also many other volunteers involved in the project every single year who are often people connected either to the specific location or are former employees of the project.
Funding requested from Civic Europe
Staff cost 18 210 EUR
PR Services and material 4 840 EUR
Transportation 500 EUR
Accommodation 500 EUR
Catering 750 EUR
Rent 1 500 EUR
Material, equipment 1200 EUR
Indirect costs 2500 EUR
Any kind of feedback is more than welcome. Sharing experience and being able to see other submitted projects is very valuable and useful. If we are not selected, we would welcome comments on what can be improved for the next time.