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Bend it Like Sarita

Generation Amazing Youth Ambassador Programme

Since 2010, Mercy Corps Nepal has been involved in “Generation Amazing,” a football-focused corporate social development program funded by the Supreme Committee (SC) for Delivery and Legacy, Qatar’s delivery and legacy authority for the 2022 FIFA World Cup. Using the power of football, the program empowers young leaders to bring about positive change in their communities.

Qatar funds the program in countries that represent the population that live and work in Qatar, including Nepal, Pakistan, and Jordan. Right to Play is the SC’s CSR Strategic Partner and Mercy Corps is its delivery partner in Nepal. The program is a part of Mercy Corps Nepal’s youth engagement portfolio, which develops programs for Sports, Disaster Risk Reduction and other community development initiatives through the lens of youth empowerment. The program works on building the leadership capacity of youth, institutionalizing youth groups and linking them with other stakeholders to ensure sustainability. As of 2016, the program has reached more than 10,000 children. One child from the Far Western Region of Nepal, Sarita Neupane, has seen dramatic changes to her life based on her participation in this program. Prior to joining, her daily routine consisted of supporting her mother in household chores and attending school. Despite her busy schedule, Sarita joined the football for development training session every evening for a couple of hours in her community. “In my community, girls are discriminated in all aspects: Boys get to go to private school, and play and meet friends, whereas girls need to go to public school, and work in the kitchen and farm. As a result, participating in sports was only in my imagination”, said Sarita. “I still remember the day when a football program was organized by Generation Amazing in 2014. That was the first time when my dream came true and I started playing football. It was fun and exciting. After this event my routine changed for good and I became a football player in my community. We have been receiving regular training in our community through head coaches. There are more football and regular matches that help build our confidence to rise more and more”.

This year, Sarita and three friends from GA program are in Nepal’s U-14 girls' national football team. They travelled to Tajikistan to compete in the AFC U-14 Girls' Regional Championship (South and Central Asia). The team stayed in Tajik capital Dushanbe and played international matches in April and May. “The GA program helps large numbers of youth to develop their leadership capacity and life skills together with football. We envisage that many others have built their capacity and also are supporting their families and communities for positive changes. I see football as a very good tool for productive youth engagement”, said Sanjay Karki, MC Nepal Country Director. He added, “Such changes can’t be possible alone so the approach is to engage local youth partners and organizations and build their capacity for them to be able to implement their own sports programs in the future.”

The Generation Amazing Youth Ambassador Programme is funded by the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy, Qatar in partnership with Right to Play and Mercy Corps Nepal

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