Finally, we wanted to include this testimonial from one of the participants in our current sports programme, 14 year old Hassina Lama, who took part in our test games for CREATE feedback:
I live in Chilaune, Paachpokhari Thangpalkot rural municipality in Sindhupalchok district. I study in Chilaune secondary school in grade 9. My father is a farmer, my mother is a house wife and I have 5 siblings, 3 sisters and 2 brothers in my family. My elder sisters and brothers are working in India and Kathmandu. I enjoy spending time with my younger brother and sister. Besides this, I like to go to school and complete my education unlike my brother and sister who had to drop out because they had to earn a living for the family. I love school, it is my second home because I have friends and my teachers are very cooperative and very helpful in giving proper guidance. I have always loved playing football but girls in our villages are not encouraged to play football as it is said to be a boys’ game. I used to watch boys play football in our school and villages. I learnt football was always 11 side of game where the most important thing was scoring goals and celebrating, also sometime I used to see boys fighting after the match which is seen very common in our village. Recently Childreach Nepal started a sports initiative club in our school where I got a chance to become a group-member. For the first time I played football. But this game was different from what I knew, it addressed the social issues and awareness about the problems seen in the community or around the world. I had only little knowledge about trafficking which was taught in our social studies subject, where our teacher used to talk about what is trafficking? The cause of trafficking? But I never knew that this major problem can be addressed through football to aware and bring changes in the community. In our recent session, we place a game called ‘Say no to Trafficking’. One of the mentors Sange conducted the session at my school. The game showed about how the trafficker could enter in the community and how they disguise themselves within the community and traffick the girls/children to other countries and too big cities. What I learned through this games was, everyone should be aware about the issue trafficking and immediately report to teachers or parents if there is a suspicious approach by strangers. I also learned about how to keep myself, friends and family safe. I had no idea about the protective system that exists in my community. Now, I am aware about where to seek help if I witness any suspicious case. I would definitely, consult with my school teachers at first. Now, I want to make my parents and community people aware and raise speak up about trafficking and unsafe migration and how school and education helps us be safe. In our community the word trafficking is very sensitive and people do not want to talk about it even if there are such cases. I would like to take up the responsibility of being the girls’ voice and end trafficking not only from my village but from the district. I would want this sports programme to continue and to involve more of my friends. I would love to play more of these games and make other children in the community play as well.
You said: Would love to better understand core elements of your program, how you recruit and select participants, the curriculum, etc. Our answer: We believe that working with local, grassroots organisations is critical to the success of our approach. We have a long-established MoU to work with Shakti Samuha, the first organisation globally to be established and run by survivors of trafficking, and they and others have confirmed their commitment to working with CREATE. Survivors are uniquely qualified to advise on what is effective in the fight to empower girls and young women against trafficking, and their voices will contribute to every element of the community-based project design.
We usually encourage children (45 from each target school) who have already been involved in our My School My Voice (MSMV) Clubs in our partner government schools to become the project members. They will run weekly football sessions lasting approximately 3 hours in schools and communities with support from school sports teachers and project staff. They will in turn run sessions with other girls and boys in the schools and in their communities. Additionally 10 youth mentors will be adolescent girls (Ateam) from the communities who along with the Project Coordinator will additionally support the children in ‘forming a group to advocate to the relevant duty bearers at the community events, utilizing their MSMV methodology, to bring about change in their schools and communities. The context specific sports curriculum will subsequently empower school students and community children with the information and skills to develop leadership and teamwork to raise their voices against gender discrimination, trafficking, school drop out etc and to demand access to education for all children, creating a community that is more aware of, and less vulnerable to, the dangers of child trafficking, particularly girls.
The youth mentors (Ateam) will be responsible for running awareness-raising campaigns within the communities, alongside organizing the Childreach Cup tournaments as well as two other sports festivals that will highlight issues affecting girls including child trafficking, as well as the need for gender equality and continued attendance at school. Additional topics to be covered at these events will be decided by the children themselves.
Monthly meetings with parents and other community members led by the youth mentors (Ateam) will raise awareness of the issues affecting children and youth people within the community, and will provide vital information on how to combat these issues and keep their children safe and out of the hands of the traffickers, such as where to report concerns about children in the community and the importance of children/girls finishing their education and not sending children away to work.
The children and youth mentors will be trained on the Coaches Across Continents’ ‘Ask for choice’ methodology by the project staff. This curriculum will be contextualized in consultation with the target stakeholders. This will provide young people with the opportunity to discuss and learn more about issues affecting children in their community, with a particular focus on the risks of trafficking and reasons for school drop-out. Weekly games in the curriculum will help children to ask questions and come up with solutions to their own problems. This will develop their critical thinking and assertive communication skills and raise awareness on all forms of abuse.
We work intensively with our communities on a number of connected projects, and regularly meet as a team to make sure that learning from each is transferred across all that we do. For CREATE specifically: 1. As with all our community-based development, we work closely with the target stakeholders to create solutions that are driven by their understanding of their own needs. This is true for how we have developed issue-based football curriculum to date and will be the same for CREATE. 2. We will customise the CAC ‘ask for choice’ curriculum based on feedback and consultation with stakeholders and according to the context and location. 3. We will regularly revise curriculum, process and practice based on weekly discussions with the youth mentors and school groups. 4. We will design and implement a full MEAL plan, with equal emphasis on all elements of monitoring, evaluation, accountability *and* learning.