Soccer Without Borders

Mission: Soccer Without Borders uses soccer as a vehicle for positive change, providing under served youth a toolkit to overcome obstacles to growth, inclusion, and personal success. Core Values: Focus on the Whole Person: SWB believes in a whole-person approach. Our programs help young people come into a greater understanding of their bodies, minds, and voices, creating avenues toward individual growth, new opportunities, and the achievement of personal goals. Authenticity: Soccer Without Borders gives voice and value to the ideas of local leaders. In addition to imported human, physical, and intellectual resources, SWB mobilizes local expertise, empowering and employing resident expe...
Jul 16, 2014

Our World Cup legacy

Coach Hassell at the UN Leadership Camp
Coach Hassell at the UN Leadership Camp

The Brazil games have all wrapped up, the trophy has been awarded, and players are headed home. There has been much talk surrounding the legacy of this World Cup and other mega events, and their impact on the communities and nations in which they are hosted. That discussion is both warranted and complicated, but for Soccer Without Borders Nicaragua one of the most powerful legacies of this World Cup lies in the hearts, minds, and abilities of two of our coaches.

The girls of SWB Nicaragua are the central focus of this program, and their needs, dreams, and ideas keep us on our toes constantly. Yet the unsung heroes who support our girls to bring those ideas and dreams to life are our Nicaraguan coaches. Our team of leaders, all of whom began as volunteers, has an average tenure of 46 months. That's nearly four years of daily innovating, teaching, supporting, listening, and problem solving with and for their teams.  It is no surprise that 91% of our girls said they think of their coach as someone they can go to with a serious problem.

Our coaches come from the very same community as our girls, and face the very same obstacles, making their perseverance and consistency that much more remarkable. Opportunities for personal development are rare, and education systems fall short in both quality and accessibility. For that reason, we could not be prouder that this June two of our Nicaraguan coaches were selected for two fully sponsored, global, leadership development opportunities: the Sony Global Youth Forum in Brazil, and the United Nations Youth Leadership Camp in Florida. 

Estefan headed to Brazil, joining just 35 peers selected from organizations around the world, to discuss the legacy of the World Cup and opportunities to create change through soccer in his home community. Hassell, a former participant-turned-coach, headed to the U.S. for two weeks of camp aimed at strategies for integrating life-skills training into sport, and practicing leadership skills while building cross-cultural bonds. 

Both returned to Granada energized by new knowledge and mentors, and inspired to deepen the impact of our program for our girls. That's a legacy that will ripple for years to come.

Thank you for investing in all that makes this program possible, most especially our local mentors and leaders. 

All the best,

Mary

p.s. Today is a GlobalGiving Bonus Day, meaning that all donations are matched! If you have been considering contributing again to the program, please consider donating today.

Coach Techo in Brazil at the Sony Youth Forum
Coach Techo in Brazil at the Sony Youth Forum

Links:

Apr 23, 2014

Secondary school is critical.

Rosa, 2014 scholarship recipient
Rosa, 2014 scholarship recipient

Don't you agree? Research shows that expected lifetime earnings for a girl in the developing world increase by about 10-15% for every additional year of secondary school. Still, for girls in Granada, there are significant barriers to secondary school enrollment, let alone completion. Let's break it down for a second:

  • While primary school enrollment for Nicaraguan girls is 85%, secondary school enrollment is just 45%.
  • The attendance rate for Nicaraguan girls in primary school is 83.6%, yet in secondary school it drops to 57.9%, meaning girls miss more than 2 days per week of school on average each week.
  • The school life expectancy for a Nicaraguan girl is 10.2 years.
  • Nearly half of Nicaraguan girls are pregnant by age 20, with over a quarter of births to girls age 14-18 (this rate is much lower for girls who stay in school!).

It's uphill at every turn. Some of the most significant barriers are:

  • Cost of uniforms and school supplies, even at public schools
  • Lost potential income for family
  • Responsibilities in the home so that parents can work (care for siblings, cleaning, watching the house)
  • Lack of incentive for long-term visioning and planning 
  • Unplanned pregnancy
  • Health issues causing high absence rate
  • Lack of academic support once behind

The list is daunting- but our girls are brave. With that in mind, drumroll.... 

We are ecstatic to announce the launch of the Fútbol Sin Fronteras Granada Programa Educativo (SWB Granada Education Program). The program was established in 2014 to provide educational and financial support to girls in FSF who have dedicated themselves to learning, to their team, and to their futures. It was created by an SWB family in memory of a young man who exhibited all of the characteristics of a well-rounded student-athlete: humility, dedication to school and team, integrity, hard work, care for self and others. 

The program has two tiers: 

  • Tier 1 (accessible to all participants): Material support for school uniforms (public and private) and educational supplies earned through participation in SWB activities.  Daily homework hours with access to computers, art supplies, internet, and tutors.
  • Tier 2 (accessible to selected participants): Secondary school scholarships for matriculation fees, full uniform and educational supplies. Mandatory tutoring and advising hours and quarterly progress reports. 

We are humbled to expand our impact to include direct financial, educational support, and excited to be working alongside with our girls' schools to help them get to the finish line. Without six years of trust and program-building, we would not be able to implement such a nuanced and extensive effort. Thank you to everyone who has supported us along the way, and for your continued interest in the impact you've made. Get to know all 14 of our scholarship recipients and learn more about the program here

Links:

Jan 27, 2014

Two way reflections: Looking back and ahead

Our girls never cease to amaze us. Their energy, enthusiasm, and courage inspire us to build as many avenues to opportunities as we possibly can, so that they can maximize their incredible potential. 2013 was quite a year for Soccer Without Borders in Nicaragua, a year of firsts and of milestones. For example,

2013 was the first time that...

  • 5 of our coaches ever flew in an airplane or visited the U.S.
  • 64 girls participated in their first ever season as a member of one of our teams 
  • all participants had the chance to meet the full Nicaraguan Women's National Team and the President of the Nicaraguan Football Federation- FENIFUT
  • our oldest girls' team recorded a league win over a boys team

2013 marked the...

  • 5 year anniversary of the program
  • largest girls soccer event in Granada history, with a 17 team Peace Cup on September 21st
  • inauguration of a new dedicated field space
  • expansion to four teams, including the nation's unofficial youngest team, las Mariposa Juniors ages 7-9
  • formalization of a partnership between SWB Nicaragua and fellow Streetfootballworld member Seprojoven in Costa Rica.

In the year to come we have lofty goals, but our girls and coaches are determined to keep pushing the boundaries by:

  • implementing a new education program, including access to school uniforms and school supplies for all participants, and the opportunity to apply for secondary school scholarships
  • expand the program to 1-2 neighborhoods outside of the city center to regularly reach girls who are not within walking distance
  • attend the FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup youth festival hosted by partner Seprojoven in Costa Rica
  • expand to a 5th team, the Caterpillars, ages 7-8, allowing the Mariposa Jrs. to become more age-specific
  • build on the momentum of the Peace Cup, Day of the Girl, and International Women's Day celebrations to expand our reach outside of Granada
  • implement an 8 week gym class curriculum to expose more girls to the program and encourage healthy, active choices

If you'd like to see some pictures from the past year, check out the highlight film that the girls watched at the opening event of 2014 at the link below (warning, major amateurism!). 

Thank you for your continued support and for following our girls in Granada!

Sincerely,

Mary McVeigh

Links:

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