Playing (Soccer) For Change in Nicaragua

by Soccer Without Borders
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Playing (Soccer) For Change in Nicaragua
Playing (Soccer) For Change in Nicaragua
Playing (Soccer) For Change in Nicaragua
Playing (Soccer) For Change in Nicaragua
Playing (Soccer) For Change in Nicaragua
Playing (Soccer) For Change in Nicaragua
Playing (Soccer) For Change in Nicaragua
Playing (Soccer) For Change in Nicaragua
Playing (Soccer) For Change in Nicaragua
Playing (Soccer) For Change in Nicaragua
Playing (Soccer) For Change in Nicaragua
Playing (Soccer) For Change in Nicaragua
Playing (Soccer) For Change in Nicaragua
Playing (Soccer) For Change in Nicaragua
Playing (Soccer) For Change in Nicaragua
Playing (Soccer) For Change in Nicaragua
Playing (Soccer) For Change in Nicaragua
Playing (Soccer) For Change in Nicaragua
Playing (Soccer) For Change in Nicaragua
Playing (Soccer) For Change in Nicaragua
Playing (Soccer) For Change in Nicaragua
Playing (Soccer) For Change in Nicaragua
Playing (Soccer) For Change in Nicaragua
Playing (Soccer) For Change in Nicaragua
Playing (Soccer) For Change in Nicaragua
Playing (Soccer) For Change in Nicaragua
Playing (Soccer) For Change in Nicaragua
Playing (Soccer) For Change in Nicaragua
Playing (Soccer) For Change in Nicaragua
End of year 2020 celebration
End of year 2020 celebration

As a direct-service organization Soccer Without Borders Nicaragua (Fútbol Sin Fronteras) found unique ways to serve and connect with our participants during this COVID-19 pandemic. Through virtual team sessions and at-home individual fitness and learning challenges, we’ve been creating belonging throughout the pandemic, while stepping up our support of families with additional food supplies and disseminating public health information.

Despite these efforts, we know that youth in Nicaragua are experiencing higher levels of stress brought on by isolation and increases in domestic violence during periods of lockdown. That’s why we are especially pleased to report that we were able to begin returning to in-person programming during the Fall, closing out the year together as teams in-person, with new Covid-protocols in place. Our program directors are grateful to our community, including parents for encouraging their children to participate.

This January, Fútbol Sin Fronteras Nicaragua kicked off 2021 with its TEAM Camp to welcome in the new year with fun activities and bring participants together. TEAM stands for Trabajando en Equipo Aprendemos Más, or working as a team we learn more, which took on even greater meaning as we value each opportunity to come together. Despite the challenges presented by the global pandemic, this marked the 14th anniversary of the camp, showing the resilience of our community. 

Spread out across several days and groups, hundreds of female athletes ranging from elementary to university aged participated in the programming, which utilized mask-wearing and other COVID safety precautions. Adjustments also included temperature checks, social distancing, breaking up into smaller groups of participants, and shortening activities to two and a half hours. 

“Being able to share these fun moments with them was the most amazing thing we could have at the beginning of 2021,” said Francisca, Head Coach and Alumna. “We are hopeful that with safety measures in place, anything can be possible.” 

FSF Granada continues to support our participants’ academic growth and is proud to recognize those who graduated from primary and secondary schools. They persevered despite limitations on in-person instruction and continued to excel academically. Through the support of the Tom Pope Memorial Fund and Girls Rights Project, FSF will support dozens of primary and secondary school scholarships in 2021, while also supporting nine university scholarships through the support of individual donors. 

The pandemic has impacted much of Soccer Without Borders’ traditional programming and fundraising. The global community and partners like you, through GlobalGiving, have made it possible for us to weather this storm. As we return to in-person programming, our priority remains creating safe and caring spaces for our participants, increasing opportunities for girls, and ensuring that every member of our community feels a sense of belonging. Thank you for your continued commitment to helping us reach these goals. We can’t do it without you and we’re glad you’re here! 

TEAM Camp in action
TEAM Camp in action
Back to the field for TEAM camp
Back to the field for TEAM camp
COVID-19 precautions included temp checks and mask
COVID-19 precautions included temp checks and mask
TEAM Camp participants - safely masked
TEAM Camp participants - safely masked
Celebrating our graduates
Celebrating our graduates

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Pre-COVID gameplay
Pre-COVID gameplay

As Fútbol Sin Fronteras (FSF) Granada continues to engage our participants virtually and provide essential resources to our community through this challenging time, we have continued to witness the inspiring development of our alumnae coaches. Their energy and ability to relate to participants has been especially important during this period of remote-engagement.

Soccer Without Borders as a whole has been striving to prioritize alumni engagement, so FSF recently took the opportunity to host a roundtable discussion on their inspiring Participant to Coach Pathway. This was a time to share their experiences and their transition model with other SWB program leaders. Granada Co-Director, Veronica Balladares, facilitated the powerful shareback of the three key stages that a participant goes through before becoming a full coach. These include:

1 - Youth Leadership Program: The goal of this step is primarily defining and beginning to practice leadership skills in a controlled, lower stakes environment for participants who demonstrate leadership qualities. 

2 - Assistant Coach: In this second phase, the connection between the coach and the players, and the coach and the rest of the staff is strengthened. This is a key moment when the coach begins to separate themself from the role of participant.

3 - Junior Coach (Staff): Finally, the alumnae use this time to learn the structure of the program and take their professional skills to the next level. This is where we get to see them step into their role with confidence. 

As a part of the roundtable, three past FSF participants took time to share their own reflections on Granada’s Youth Leadership Program and how they grew into their current positions. Granada has SWB’s strongest alumni engagement strategy and US-based staff reflected on how inspiring it was to see their youth leadership in action!

Thank you for continuing to make these programs come to life for our participants and helping to facilitate this pathway of opportunity and development! We’re glad you’re here!

Granada Youth Leaders
Granada Youth Leaders
Remote engagement
Remote engagement
Some love for FSF during our home activities
Some love for FSF during our home activities

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Rosa, Alison, and Reyna of SWB Nicaragua
Rosa, Alison, and Reyna of SWB Nicaragua

We are excited to share the news with you all- our community of supporters- that Soccer Without Borders Nicaragua has been named GlobalGiving's June 2020 Project of the Month!

Each month, GlobalGiving highlights one high-quality project that has demonstrated deep impact, innovation, and high capacity during their time as a member of the GlobalGiving community. We are honored and thrilled to be joining this impressive group of change-makers dedicated to positively transforming communities across the globe. 

The news of our selection comes at a critical time for our project in Nicaragua. Since Nicaragua's political crisis escalated in 2018, in combination with the impact of COVID-19, our program has not been able to host several annual events that typically fund our year-round work. Despite these challenges, our team of mentor-coaches on the ground has adapted to serve our community in creative ways by increasing access to resources, providing virtual education and soccer opportunities, and facilitating regular connections with one another.

As a member of the Project of the Month Club this support will fill critical gaps here at SWB by going directly to our year-round soccer, education, and community-building activities for more than 450 girls in Granada and surrounding communities. It will also support our team to reach an additional 1,200 youth through our annual events, camps, and leagues across Nicaragua. 

It is with the support of our global community that our team has been able to advocate for women and girls in Nicaragua since 2008. As we navigate these challenging times, our team remains committed to cultivating safe spaces and ensure that each member of the SWB community feels connected and cared for. Thank you for continuing to champion gender inclusion on and off the pitch and serving as crucial members of the SWB team! We're glad you're here!

Virtual team practices during Covid-19
Virtual team practices during Covid-19
FSF Alumna-turned-Coach Reyna joins SWB staff!
FSF Alumna-turned-Coach Reyna joins SWB staff!
International Women's Day (March 2020)
International Women's Day (March 2020)
University Scholarship Recipients for 2020!
University Scholarship Recipients for 2020!
Our 2020 Youth Leadership Group
Our 2020 Youth Leadership Group

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FSF Coaches
FSF Coaches

Friends of SWB,

With your support, Soccer Without Borders Nicaragua has been working to build a more inclusive world since 2006. Over these 14 years, our community has shown resiliency in the face of tremendous economic, social, political and public health challenges. While the global reach of the Covid-19 pandemic is unprecedented in our history as an organization,  our strategies and principles for resiliency remain the same:

We are stronger together than apart
The opposite of isolation is inclusion. We are leveraging every tool we can to strengthen connectivity, particularly among our youth participants and staff members who are most at risk of falling out of the loop. Our team of dedicated staff have prioritized connection with participants and families, regularly checking in and strengthening the close relationships on which our program was built. 

Get them to the field
We have been exercising the muscles of creative program design and addressing access barriers for years. Although we can't convene in person, that won't stop us from making sure our participants continue to thrive. During this time, SWB’s coach-mentors are bringing programming to participants through creative at home activities and challenges.

We play best when we're smiling
We are working proactively to take care of ourselves and each other, while doing our part to minimize the spread of the Covid-19 virus by aligning with local and national directives. And while we can’t come together as teams at this time, our players and coaches have continued to build team spirit and ensure that our teams are a source of support for one another. 

From SWB Nicaragua to SWB Uganda to SWB USA, creating belonging has always been our core product. That has not changed. While we have paused in-person activities, the SWB Nicaragua team is proactively engaging our participants in new ways and ensuring that our community has the information that they need to stay healthy, access meals, and navigate access to health care.

Together,
The Soccer Without Borders Team

Much like many small businesses and nonprofits, the pandemic has already caused financial losses from cancelled fundraising events. If you would like to support our work in Nicaragua, please consider making a donation today.

At home activities
At home activities
At home activites
At home activites
At home activities
At home activities

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As we jump into a new year of programming in Granada and beyond we're reflecting on the brightest and biggest moments of 2019 at Fútbol Sin Fronteras. From adding new teams, to expanding educational support and access, to representing at the Women's World Cup and Equality Summit there is so much to celebrate… Check out the highlights from our year!

FSF expands to 3 additional communities
In January 2019, FSF launched EXPANSION SITES in 3 new communities surrounding Granada, supporting more than 60 girls from La Laguna, Diamante, and Fortin to join us for our annual TEAM Camp. Since then our coaches have continued growing teams in these communities, hosting open practices twice per week and supporting more players to plug into our central programming, leagues, and special events. In 2020 our team plans to build upon these expansions and continue to track our regional impact.

La Liga Escolar hosts its 4th season
From May-June the fourth annual Liga Escolar (School League) was facilitated by FSF's Program Coordinators at our fields in downtown Granada. Eight secondary schools entered teams in the weekly league, the only formal league for young girls in the city. Congrats to our 2019 champions from Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe!

FSF represents at the Women's World Cup
In connection with the Women's World Cup, leaders from sport-for-good organizations throughout the world came together to elevate the conversation around women and girls on and off the pitch. Co-Director, Veronica Balladares, represented SWB at the Equality Summit in Lyon, sharing best practices and strengthening connections within the football for good network and other representatives from Latin American organizations. Learn more about Veronica's experience and expertise in developing girls' sport programs here!

10th Annual Copa de La Paz
The annual Peace Cup hosted in celebration of the International Day of Peace (September 21st) continues to be the largest girls-only football tournament in Nicaragua. This year the event grew even more; La Copa spanned 2 weekends and included more than 300 players who took part in 10 hours of tournament play. In total 20 teams competed, representing more than 5 communities and 6 organizations throughout Nicaragua.

FSF selects new Youth Leaders
Our 'Grupo de Lideres' continues to serve as a pipeline for leadership development within FSF. After celebrating our 2019 Grupo de Lideres and their culminating community service project, FSF opened applications for our 2020 cohort, selecting 7 participants from our oldest teams to serve as youth leaders and assistant coaches in the new year. Learn more about both cohorts by following our Facebook page!

SWB hosts Sports & Leadership Camp in Boaco
One of SWB's "Global Goal 5 Moments of the Year" was SWB Nicaragua's Women's Sports Corps Camp in October. Through a collaboration with Plan International-Nicaragua, Women Win, and the US Embassy, 5 FSF alumnae traveled to the department of Boaco to lead a soccer and leadership camp for girls from the communities of Teustepe, Acedades, San Jose de los Remates, la Cruz, El Emplame de Boaco, and La Cuesta. Our young Women's Sports Corps fellows exemplified what it means to be a leader throughout the camp, working hard to create more opportunities for women to participate in organized sport in the area.

Education & Scholarship Program continues to grow
With continued support from the Tom Pope Fund and the Girls Rights Project our Education and Scholarship program continued to grow during its 6th year. In 2019, FSF awarded 44 scholarship recipients (including 4 university, 28 secondary school, and 12 primary school) in addition to providing school supplies, uniforms, and access to mentoring and tutoring sessions. In November, 25 participants graduated from secondary school and FSF financially supported 25 families with their daughters' transitions to secondary school. In 2020 3 new university scholarship recipients will begin their post-secondary studies with support from FSF... Congratulations to Mariangeles, Valeria, and Mileydi!

These developments are a direct result of the dedication and hard work from our participants, staff, and YOU our community of passionate volunteers, donors, and supporters. THANK YOU! Join us in kicking off the new year and building upon this success by MAKING A DONATION to support girls throughout Nicaragua.

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Organization Information

Soccer Without Borders

Location: Cambridge, MA - USA
Website:
Project Leader:
Mary McVeigh
Boston, MA United States
$70,264 raised of $100,000 goal
 
2,335 donations
$29,736 to go
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