Young people have a huge development potential. They are courageous, innovative, impatient, have an urge to be creative and have high expectations for themselves and their communities. This also applies, of course, to the young people of the MENA region.
But when unemployment has reached 40 per cent among young people in Jordan, and the future seems bleak, support is needed. Young people in the MENA region need real influence, to be a part of society’s development and to have access to communities, voices and platforms for speech, in addition to financial resources.
GAME’s work in Jordan under the DAPP programme “Youth-led Street Sports for All” is about the education and empowerment of young Jordanians. It gives them the opportunity to use street sports, leadership of volunteers and entrepreneurship to make positive changes for themselves and for the children and young people in their local area. The project is a collaboration with the local organisation Jordan Youth Innovation Forum (JYIF).
Educating young people as role models in Jordan
GAME has been working with young people in Jordan since 2018. The method is to use youth-managed street sports for social change. GAME has been working with youth-managed street sports in Lebanon since 2007, and Lebanese staff and volunteers have been a big part of the startup in Jordan.
So far, the efforts of GAME in Jordan have been based in four training camps for young people during 2018 and 2019, and 160 young people can now call themselves GAME Playmakers. This means that young people now carry out weekly training sessions in the 11 GAME zones – including in Ramtha, Mafraq and Amman – which the young people themselves have helped to renovate so they can be used to practice street basketball and street soccer with local children.
More than half of the Jordanian young people in the programme have never volunteered before, but with their effort and commitment, the 11 GAME zones have succeeded in attracting more than 18,000 attendees during the project, 28 per cent of whom are girls.
Diversity and new skills
One of the objectives of GAME’s work in Jordan is to activate local youths in street sports and street culture in order to create open, inspiring, and diverse communities that build on and promote values like equality, democracy and understanding.
The training camps are therefore not just about teaching young people to become good street basketball or street soccer instructors; Leadership, life skills, equality, empowerment, teamwork, conflict management and civil society are also integrated into the training at each camp.
It pays off to involve the young people in Playmaker Camps and give them responsibility for the weekly training sessions for local children. Of the young people who have been trained as Playmakers in Jordan, 94 per cent have made friends with others from a different background than their own, and 82 per cent have acquired skills that they can use in other contexts.
Incubator to remedy high youth unemployment
After a successful first year of training young GAME Playmakers and well-attended street basketball and street soccer training sessions, the DAPP collaboration between GAME and JYIF has expanded the programme with a project that hopes to alleviate the high unemployment among young people in Jordan.
In March 2019, the DAPP programme in collaboration with GAME and JYIF launched a ‘Street Sports Incubator’. The project is meant to strengthen entrepreneurship and organisational talent in a country where youth unemployment has reached 40 per cent and where many young people have little hope for the future. The project supports young people’s ideas with seed funding, counselling and mentoring, in order to transform their ideas into start-ups and viable companies or NGOs.
44 young Jordanians took part in the first Incubator round, where they were guided and counselled by experts in innovation and development. The young people’s ideas range far and wide – from apps that help young people meet up and play street soccer across different backgrounds, religions and social classes – to rethinking the use of public space to practice sports. Six projects were selected and have now received seed funding to bring their ideas to fruition as start ups.
The next Incubator round is already underway. More than 300 young people have applied for the second round of the Incubator, and 43 have been selected. Of those, 21 are female.
The project is inspired by GAME’s Danish National Platform for Street Sport, which provides advice and financial support for street sports projects in Denmark.
For further information:
Read report from the first Playmaker Camp here
Experience a Playmaker Camp here
Follow what’s happening in GAME in Jordan right now here
Learn more about GAME’s ‘Street Sports Incubator’ in Jordan here
GAME website: http://gamedenmark.org/
GAME on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GAMEInternational.ngo/