Football: Power for youth
The UEFA Foundation and ITC brought Sport for Development to life, supporting over 1000 young people in the Middle East and Africa through its Kick for Trade curriculum.
The International Trade Centre recognizes that ‘Partnerships4Purpose’ can contribute to impactful projects and sustainable outcomes. To celebrate the teamwork behind these efforts, ITC is proud to highlight game-changing initiatives that are made possible through strong and meaningful collaboration.
The UEFA Foundation
When ITC’s Youth and Trade programme sought to tackle irregular migration in Guinea and the Gambia back in 2018 through a project funded by the EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa, the team faced a fundamental challenge: Although there were job opportunities in the local mining and fishing industries, concepts like entrepreneurship, business plans and access to finance were not part of the young entrepreneurs’ language. Internet access was spotty and there was a need to deliver on skills, such as communication, teamwork, presentation or writing a CV.
ITC’s Youth and Trade team realized that youth needed employable skills as well as core knowledge to kick-start their businesses. This is when the UEFA Foundation stepped in.
The unique approach: Using sport for development
After signing a Memorandum of Understanding in 2019, ITC and the Foundation were ready to develop its Kick for Trade curriculum. “Kick for Trade” trains the coaches in the methodology of life skills for employability and life skills for entrepreneurship. The curriculum includes topics such as resilience, self-confidence, communication, adaptability, and teamwork.
Each life skill module has 11 sessions (fun fact: the number of players in a football team!), focusing on 11 skills that will help young people develop attributes to either gain and remain in employment or to pursue their own ventures.
The innovative partnership benefitted from UEFA’s gears and materials, a network of experts, such as streetfootballworld and Kick4Life, and the involvement of local authorities and funds.
The impact: Creating jobs for youth
So far, 500 youth in Guinea and the Gambia have received valuable life skills for the labour market, which has contributed considerably to the deliverables under the EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa.
Building on this progress, the UEFA Foundation and ITC have decided to scale up its partnership through another ITC project on “Strengthening the Agriculture and Agri-food Value Chain and Improving Trade Policy” (SAAVI) in Iraq, which will look at improving the life skills of another 600 youth.
The new project’s overall goal is to support 10,000 young entrepreneurs working in agriculture. By training 10 coaches to mentor 200 youth in Baghdad and 20 coaches for 400 youth in Basrah through Kick for Trade, the ‘agripreneurs’ will develop life skills for their professional development, as well as learn innovative ways to overcome challenges or adapt as entrepreneurs. With the support of Iraq’s Ministry of Youth and Sports and United World, a new-found partner with strong sport ecosystems, the project will highlight how youth can develop business skills in and through the sport sector.
Moving forward: We remain a team!
Just like in football, this partnership has shown the importance of working as a team if you want to win.
Sports shows itself to be a powerful force for youth empowerment as well as an economic sector with great potential. Sports creates jobs, sustains entrepreneurship, and presents business opportunities – in particular with upcoming popular events, such as the Olympic youth games in Dakar in 2026, the recent African Nations Football cup or the Gulf Cup in Basrah in January 2023.
These ambitions will be discussed during the International Day of Sport for Development & Peace on 6 April 2022 at the UEFA HQ in Nyon, Switzerland, to make way for new partners and more talents to join the ITC-UEFA Team.