The Cross Cultures Project Association (CCPA) is a non-profit NGO, which uses sport to achieve peace and reconciliation in situations across the world affected by internal conflicts. These can be conflicts of gender, religion, culture, socioeconomic inequality and civil wars. In the MENA region CCPA has a specific goal to participate in greater involvement in civil society, cooperation across sectors, peaceful coexistence and strengthened resilience among youth – especially among young women. With the support of the Danish Arab Partnership Programme (DAPP) CCPA is currently active in Jordan, Tunisia and Morocco.
The structure of CCPA is such that young local woman and men are trained to be leaders and coaches at the Open Fun Football Schools (OFFS). The football schools are centred around the playfulness of the game. The goal is not competitive tournaments but rather the community and joy which football brings to both the players and coaches. This is truly sport for all. By achieving the requirement of a minimum of 40 percent of the participants in the football being girls, CCPA aids in one of DAPP’s primary goals, the strengthening of gender equality in the MENA region.
Another important focus for CCPA’s work in MENA is cross-sector cooperation. In achieving this CCPA works with a model inspired by the Danish SSP cooperation. The Sport+School+Police, to which the model can be translated, has the purpose of creating a governance structure where relevant actors meet at least once a month to discuss challenges in the local community and how they can work together to create a system to solve them. Furthermore, the SSP programme creates a concrete framework where local authorities, the police, sports clubs, schools and parents cooperate in organising and holding Open Fun Football Schools and the HUB24 sports festivals. HUB24 is a 24-hour sports festival run by volunteers nonstop for 24 hours with different activities supported by local volunteers and municipal grants.
With almost 20 years of experience with football schools and sports festivals CCPA has no doubt that participation from the local community is the key to creating sustainable projects. When children see that different people such as school teachers as well as police officers – both men and women – act as football coaches it creates an opportunity to distract from the divisions of society and break with prejudices between different groups.
The projects are initiated with a youth leader seminar for young people from across the region, which ensures a common starting point across countries. From here the youth leaders return home to their separate countries where they conduct coaching seminars for local young volunteers, who become coaches at CCPA, OFFS and HUB24. These coaches then train assistant coaches, who aid them in their work. This way, the project structure is expanded to the local communities who then, on a volunteer basis, drive the projects without interference from CCPA. This volunteer structure is defining for the work of CCPA, because when the local communities take ownership of the projects, it strengthens the long-term potential which allows them to operate independently in the different countries.