One of the keys to an expansion phase of the program lies in the ability to increase coverage without compromising the quality of services offered. 2009 was characterized by increased deployment in the districts in Zambezia Province and the opening in Nampula Province.
In Zambezia, after advancing contacts with local authorities, starting in the month of July, new trainings began and equipped 125 new volunteers in the districts of Ile and Alto Molocue.
Meanwhile, at the end of the month of May the results of the baseline and situational analysios of the districts in Nampula Province, led to the installation of an office and leading to a permanent presence in the district of Malema. The choice was made based on the results of a comparative study of three districts (Malema, Ribaue and Murrupula) showed that in Malema a low youth participation in sports programs.
This process of expansion to the provinces made the FLM face challenges at various levels, which led to a reflection and the development of new implementation strategies in an attempt to balance the increased number of participants (occupations and children) and the requirement to strengthen presence in the territory with activities that ensure the quality and impact sought.
The office that was clearly more affected and subject to change last year was that of Gurue, the biggest challenges were to suggest about the ability to handle the growing number of participants from the local team of the need for the involvement of the occupations a higher level with the prospect of continuing activities, focusing on the feeling and appearance even about the need to monitor the activities of a point of view "quality".
From the 22nd to the 24th of November, the President of the Foundation, Maria de Lurdes Mutola, along with the Royal Ambassador of the Netherlands in Mozambique, Frans Bijvoet, visited the project locations of Malema, Gurue Makuaro and to see and feel the impact that this program makes in these communities. The two also used the opportunity of their visit to inaugurate the new office in Malema, financed by the Embassy of the Netherlands in Mozambique in front of more than 2,000 people.
A central objective was to make contact with traditional leaders in the areas of Malema and Gurue. Traditional leaders generally have a large impact on soceital norms, and their lobby could have a positive impact on the participation of girls in areas where they work as lords. The President held direct meetings with traditional leaders to address issues of sport, inclusion and issues related to sport in general.
The project continues to expand in order to reach the peripheries of the entire District.
Four trainings are planned for 100 coaches during the period September to December 2009, following the series of successful trainings in Mepuagiua, Lioma and Sede where 57 new coaches were trained using the “Craque!” manual.
The first phase of league games is almost complete. The league games started off with a total of 65 teams- a mixture of boys and girls, who took part in the “eliminator”games. The finals will take place in Gurué central in September 2009.
The experience gained and lessons learned by both the project staff and coaches in organizing and implementing this first league phase will provide a strong foundation upon which to embark on the second phase of league games, planned for the school holiday period (between December 2009 and January 2010).
The project has established some strategic partnerships with the local government (Gurué) Municipality, the Ministry of Education, the local community radio, the District Hospital and the local communities.
The “President” of the Municipality provided a truck with driver, to ferry the project’s materials (balls and boundary markers, etc) from Nampevo (125km away) to the Foundation’s Gurué Office, free of charge. The Foundation was only required to provide fuel for the truck.
The President of the Municipality is also the President of the Sports Commission. The project will explore ways to strengthen meaningful collaboration and resource mobilization and sharing with the local government and the Sports Commission.
The Ministry of Education has collaborated with the Foundation by providing the Culture House venue for free during training sessions with coaches. Physical activity is vital to the holistic development of young people, fostering their physical, social and emotional health. Within schools, physical education is an essential component of quality education. The Foundation is therefore playing a positive and fundamental role in improving the quality of education for the marginalized youth, through the strategic partnership with the Ministry of Education.
The local community radio always gives an account of the Foundation’s highlights during the weekly sports program. This publicity helps to raise the Foundation’s profile in the District.
Through an arrangement with one of the doctors, HIV positive children are referred to the DDV program for physical, emotional and psychosocial benefits. These children are integrated into the program without stigma or discrimination.
The local communities can always be counted on to clear football fields and to allow and encourage the children to participate in the sport for development program. The community leaders are invited to attend the league games and they bless the events with their presence.
There is still a lot to be done with the existing polos in order to improve the technical, life and organization skills components. For example most of the young players still need to pass the ball and kick the habit of monopolizing the ball, with just one player kicking the ball hard from one end of the field to the other. The project staff and coaches will strive to find effective methods to discuss STI (including HIV) prevention and raise the self esteem among the participating children.
Another area that needs to be reinforced is the volunteer motivation. The “rewards”, or points system for the coaches has been developed as a way of motivating them to maintain frequent contact and implement sporting and life skills activities with the children. The project team is finding ways to fine tune this points system.
Most of the coaches gave the feedback that lack of balls and other “materials” causes lack of interest among them and the children.
The Gurué office recently received a consignment of soccer balls and field boundary markers. This will go a long way in maintaining interest among the children and the coaches. They do not show up for training.
The DDV project is instrumental in creating better citizens by developing positive attitudes, individual and collective technical skills and strategies/plans for the participating children within their respective teams and communities.
Consolidating the initiative and preparing to go beyond
During the first quarter of the year a lot of energy was spent in building the “quality” concept amongst our team of volunteer coaches. We have a lot of people playing on many soccer fields within the district, and improving the skills of both coaches and athletes was a significant part of our agenda.
To increase the quality you need to do more than feed technical knowledge. There is a lot more we need to do in order to advance further and meet our objectives. We are working on rehabilitation of fields in schools and inside the communities, planning with the Ministry of Education of the District, the Municipality and the coaches themselves, we choose fields and provide goalposts and material to create boundries, to each team we give jugs and cups, so they can bring water to the trainings and also, we are encouraging them to democratically elect the team names and symbols in order to have they ready for a league that will be happening during the next school holidays. The system of rewards is now fully implemented and will be perfected as we advance and receive feedback from coaches and staff.
This attempt to raise our quality status bar had a major opponent although, and it is called rain. Gurué is known as a district with a high humidity climate, with the peak of precipitations between December and ends of April. All this rain ends up disturbing the routine of trainings not only because the water itself but also because this is the time that most of the families travel far away to their machambas (crops) to cultivate and bring their children with them. The maintenance of some fields is also prejudiced because there is a local tradition to cut the grass only after the strong rain period ends. We are working to change this mentality because tall grass plus water is not just a barrier to the practice of sports but is also a channel to spread diseases like Malaria. With some teams/communities the strategy seems to be working and they are now doing a “team clean” action in their training fields.
Even with the rain and other constrictions like transport and the fact that some fields or communities are accessible only by motorcycle, which we don’t have, or by foot, our team was able to conduct 50 visits from March to April. From those visits, 32 were successful, with coaches working in their scheduled time with their children. We learned during this that some teams are a little small, with 10 athletes, and some are really huge, with more than 150 children playing. From the number of children noticed during the visits we calculated an average of 32 children per session and in terms of active coaches we have a number of 50, distributed all across the District and the two administrative Posts, with the remotest field at a distance of 190km. The calculated impact of the project nowadays is of at least 1600 children regularly playing soccer among the communities.
Thanks to the effort on sensitization among the community and the commitment we saw with some of our female coaches and athletes, we have now two women working in our staff as technical assistants. They bring with them not only new blood and energy but also the knowledge and the experience of the challenges that women face to practice soccer or any other sport in the rural areas of Mozambique.
The Foundation did a series of trainings in Mepuagiua, Lioma and Gurue Sede with increase of 25 new fields or "polos". 57 new coaches were trained in the "Craque!" Manual and "Desporto da vida" Project. Our aim was to have between 70-75 new volunteers but due to the holidays and the problems of communication between schools and communities some people wasn't aware of the training or was already on leave. Anyway, the number is really good and now DDV covers geographically the entire District and all the 19 ZIPs (Pedagogic Influence Zone) from the Ministry of Education. Apart from teachers, we also had a good number of students and community volunteers in the trainings.
The visit of Sarita, one of the Foundation's scholarship athletes, that is a runner turned soccer player, spent two weeks in Gurue, showing off her skills and cheering up the volunteers and children in the field (see photo #1). She also helped during practical sessions on trainings sharing her experience and knowledge with participants and giving tips and new ways to improve training sessions in the field. We all learned a lot and the inspiration of seen an real athlete was something that will be in the memories of these young players for a long time. Meetings organized with volunteers and community and interviews with the local radio station gave us the opportunity to explain the importance of women in sports and in schools, and the benefits not only for them, but, for society in general.
The overall result of the trainings was very positive. During the trainings the idea was to make sport for development concept not only a topic discussed, but felt by the participants in many ways. Exercises and practical sessions mixed with conversations and experience sharing allowed our new volunteers to get the necessary inspiration and motivation to start something different, to build in their own knowledge and give to children the opportunity of grow up with happier and meaningful experiences.
The work with the existing polos is still challenging but with some important victories. Most of them now agree with the importance of frequency for good results and are adapting to this reality. We also made a system of "rewards" for the coaches who maintain frequent activities to children, every month that a coach stays active with his/her children, he/she will earn a point, and those points allow the coach to receive small gifts from the Foundation like T-Shirts, clipboards, whistles, pens, etc. as a form of acknowledge and thank their effort for volunteering in the community. We are still working on that system and how it will operate and different small gifts can be added in the near future.
The competitions between the teams are heating up as matches are becoming a more frequent fixture in the lives of the players. Many coaches come every week to ask the Foundation to help them in organizing matches against other teams. This type of competition keeps the motivation among the children and coaches and also helps them to measure the team evolution in several aspects of soccer and teamwork. During these events the FLM – Gurué team is always present using the opportunity to reinforce health and motivation messages and give training and "in game" tips.
Sarita, in yellow, shows young players how to control the ball with her instep. She is a scholarship recipient of the Foundation
Manuel Monteiro of LMF, Bert Sonnenschein of Iris Imaginações and Martinho Fernandes, the Technical Director for the Mozambican Football Federation, arrived in Gurúe on Sunday December 2. They were met by Miguel Raso, head of the Municipal Department of Sports, local organizer of the event, a Geração Biz activist and eventual volunteer coordinator for the implementation of the program.
The conditions and logistics for the workshop were well prepared, as were the participants.
Initially, there were sixty people who showed interested and signed up for the course with Miguel Raso, 17 of whom were women. Five of these women were chosen to participate in the training; only two of them showed up for the course. In the end, 24 people participated in the workshop. Most are Physical Education teachers; others are also in one way or another involved in sports in the district capital, some as active athletes and others in a more organizational role. The interest, background, capacities and experiences of the non-PE teachers complemented well those of the PE teachers and contributed to the positive outcomes of the week.
As mentioned, out of the 24 participants, only two were female. This gender inequality was not seen or experienced as a negative point. There were initially a push to include the intended amount of women after there was a dearth, but the test in Namaacha showed that there would be a low level of understanding and implementation with people who did not fit the basic requirements detailed above. The DDV program explicitly wants to explore and build upon existing motivation of people rather than to bring in alien motives and set-up parallel structures for football and HIV education. More equal gender participation cannot be brought in from the onset, but should be a point of attention for the future of the program.
The first day had the usual delay in appearances and official opening ceremonies by the Director of the District Services for Education, Culture, Youth, Sports, Science and Technology. All other days, the participants showed up on time and motivate and participation was high, much higher and much more enthused than the Namaacha trial.
The morning program was reserved for interactive concept and knowledge building, while the afternoons were dedicated to practical training sessions. The first two days training sessions were lead by the facilitators, from the third day onward, the participants facilitated the training sessions, with practical implementation with the participation of more than 100 children each day.
Contrary to the case with workshop participants, equal gender participation was achieved among the children in a natural way: out of the approximate 100, 40 were female.
The training calendar had the following role out during the week:
- Knowledge test
- The tasks of a trainer
- The characteristics of a star athlete
- The philosophy of soccer training
- Football and life skills training integrated
- Communication skills
- Communicating messages
- Motivating the athletes
- Discussing the existing sports organization and activities in the district and how to build and adapt on them using this training and the Champ! manual
- Setting-up a plan for implementation of the “Movimento Passa Bola”, a collaboration network set-up by workshop participants, in the district.
- Elaboration of the plan.
- Knowledge test
- Test with all coaches on large field with many children
- Distribution of materials
The methodology used for the workshop was one of interactive concept and knowledge building. Instead of feeding new concepts, knowledge and language into the participants, the participants were taken onto a journey where they shared concepts and knowledge available among them. Based on this, the participants created new concepts, knowledge and a common language and goals that will enable them not only to understand and communicate with each other, but also to work together in an organized form towards a common goal.
Each day started with an evaluation game in which participants were asked about the aspects of the day before. This included, for example, whether they had enjoyed the day before, whether they had learned something useful the day before and whether they would be able to apply what they had learned the day before. Any doubts that arose from these questions were answered among the participants themselves before entering the program agenda for that particular day.
This evaluation game worked very well and made it possible to clarify and address specific needs and concerns of the participants.
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