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Youth Engagement

Generation Amazing: Youth Development through Football

Alternate Name:
Youth Football Plus

Qatar 2022 via the Qatar Foundation - Reach Out to Asia (ROTA)
March 2010 - February 2011
US$ 251,250
Youth Engagement
Far West
Kailali District Football Association (KFA) and 8 public schools & their School Management Committees
672 direct student beneficiaries and over 6,000 indirect student beneficiaries

The Challenge
Youth are generally regarded as an agent for change and development because they have tremendous strengths, ideas and energies to contribute. But these assets must be channeled towards constructive engagement at the household, community, and national levels if youth are to catalyze positive changes for themselves and their communities.

40% of Nepal's population is between the ages of 10 and 25 (Population Reference Bureau), but many of these youth feel discouraged by a lack of education and employment opportunities, and lack the confidence required to play a future leadership role in their communities. Without increased confidence and access to productive opportunities, vulnerable youth are more likely to migrate, join violent movements, be unproductive, or simply give up hope.

The Kailali district, which is heavily affected by conflict and flooding, is a Terai district consisting of diverse ethnic and caste communities, some of which have been traditionally marginalized, giving rise to a complex fabric of identity-based and political turmoil. A significant portion of the student and youth population migrates seasonally to India or within Nepal in search of work opportunities, placing them further at risk.

The Opportunity: Youth Football Plus
Generation Amazing: Youth Development through Football, (locally know as Youth Football Plus) was designed together with Qatar 2022, the Government of Qatar's bid for the 2022 World Cup, as a corporate-social responsibility activity to use the popularity of football to catalyze positive social engagement by at-risk youth. The initiative spans several countries, with Mercy Corps serving as the implementing partner in Nepal and Pakistan. The project builds upon Mercy Corps Nepal's earlier work with youth engagement under its Youth Initiatives for Peace and Reconciliation (2006 - 2008) and Peer Education in Disaster Risk Reduction (2009 - 2010) projects, both of which included activities in the Far Western Terai. The project also builds on Mercy Corps' global efforts to use the power of sports to promote social cohesion and engage youth in development issues. The project's strategic alliance with Kailali Football Association (KFA) and School Management Committees was designed to improve opportunities for school-based youth in flood-hit and conflict-affected VDCs of the Kailali District to learn about and play football, while also contributing to leadership development and community service. The initiative has four objectives:

1. Increase opportunities for disadvantaged youth to participate in football by improving access to facilities and training:

Bleachers and dress changing rooms are being constructing

Bleachers and dress changing rooms are
being constructing

Girls in basic football skill training

Girls in basic football skill training

Mercy Corps and KFA undertook a rigorous selection process for the schools and youth selected to participate in the project. The preliminary selection process identified 672 students from eight (8) secondary schools in five VDCs (RamshikharJhala, Darakh, Bhajani, Khailad, Pahalmanpur), divided evenly between girl and boy students; next, selected youth were further screened for basic football skills courses delivered by 16 All Nepal Football Association (ANFA) coaches to 336 students. The sports facilities of the selected schools were screened and infrastructure upgrades for fields, bleachers, changing facilities, toilets, and other necessary components were supported.

2. Harness the power of football to mobilize, educate, and address critical social issues by implementing awareness-raising activities in conjunction with football programming:

Students involved in football trainings were also targeted for leadership development and community service initiatives. They prioritized and selected school service or community service schemes, and then mobilized peers to implement the schemes. Similarly, students underwent leadership training and developed key messages related to health, social, economic, and governance issues, and disseminated these messages through campaigns and events, including inter-school football tournaments. Messages reached approximately 2,000 students.

3. Select, develop, and mentor eight "Generation Amazing Ambassadors" through an educational visit to the 2010 World Cup in South Africa:

Youth AmbassadorsYouth Ambassadors

In coordination with a panel of external judges, the project carried out a competitive process to select eight Generation Amazing Youth Ambassadors from the target schools, including four girls and four boys. The selected ambassadors visited South Africa in June 2010, attended a World Cup match, observed football-for-development strategies in action in both South Africa and Qatar, participated in an educational tour of South Africa, and played friendly matches with youth from other countries. Now that they have returned, the ambassadors are working with KFA to design a district Football Festival that will combine football and development communication. They will also make presentations to their school student bodies about their experiences and learning, including key social messages gathered; and, will work with their School Management Committees to mobilize fellow students to implement schools service schemes.

4. Promote the continued development of football in selected communities by creating football leagues and annual football festivals:

The project will support the development of a school-level Football League and inter-school tournament for the Kailali District, which will be structured according to learning from South Africa by combining football with development communications. The project will work with ANFA/ KFA to institutionalize this tournament as an annual event.