Programa Fútbol Más and the ´America Unites us´ Campaign
The founders of Fútbol Más started with the idea that social change could be achieved through sport. They used this concept to help people that need it most and for ages that has the most potential for changing towards the positive: the youth in biopsychosocial vulnerable neighbourhoods.
From 2014-2015 Fútbol Más presented 5000 children and their families with an integral and after three years self-sustainable/lead program based on the power of sports and positive reinforcement (an important instrument is our ´green card´.
We work in 4 countries with an average of 71% of assistance. Each child receives 108 hours of social-sports intervention per year. Next to this, we also trained 252 youth leaders in 2014 and 2015.
During the Copa America in Chile we had a campaign with Unicef against discrimination, pro children rights and respect. Every visitor during Chile´s matches silently held up a green card during the hymns of opponents to show the world a positive message.
Promoting the development of resilience in girls, boys and teenagers who live in contexts of biopsychosocial vulnerability, with the objective of giving them the opportunity to enhance their personal resources to benefit them and their community´s wellbeing.
The three sub-objectives:
1. To develop and/or enhance internal strengths and skills in children and to promote resilient processes in them.
2. To promote a resilience-enabling environment in the neighborhood through work with social capital and community parenthood.
3. Promote the development of significant relationships in all stakeholders in the implementation of our social program in order to promote resilience.
The objectives of the green card campaign were mentioned above.
HOW THE OBJECTIVES WERE ACHIEVED
The participants are children aged 6-15, youth leaders aged 15-19 and their families that live in biopsychosocial vulnerability.
Firstly, we give classes to four categories of children (divided by age), twice a week. These classes are built around a certain theme that relates to resilience. All classes are hosted weekly in a professor/social worker reunion (regionally). Every class is 75 minutes, we give classes to two categories per day. The classes are from March till December. We have developed four formats of classes, all based upon pedagogical theories.
Every neighbourhood also knows a Community Coordination Team, in which the results and program of futbol más is discussed every month.
They also help plan:
- Monthly inter-neighborhood match (where personal improvement is demonstrated).
- Youth-leader training. In every neighbourhood, young leaders are encouraged, mentored and trained to become the new leaders of Fútbol Más in their community.
1. Daily biopsychosocial football classes based on a curriculum that operationalizes concepts of resilience into factors to base the classes on, resulting in classes based on self-understanding and the increase of self-esteem.
A very important aspect here is the use of the Green Card as a system of punctuation for the kids. The Green Card reinforces good behavior and team work, and thus focusses on good behavior and not on skill. This green card is crucial for working with resilience.
2. We aim at creating social capital in order to create a resilience enabling environment. We do this through the creation of a Neighborhood Coordination Team, and also through our youth-leadership training of teenagers to make them sport-monitors.
The objectives of the Green card campaign were achieved through it being a huge success in all (!) of Chile´s matches. Even against arch rivals and during the final, the complete stadium lifted the green card as a message of positivity and respect to show the whole world (through interested media in many countries) that society can change and be positive (no whistling sounds were heard during the hymns, all there was, was respect).
Considering day to day work, 5000 children, their families, and their communities were reached (working in 70 neighborhoods in 4 countries). The children had 108 hours on average of intervention per year (before only spent roaming around).
Research showed that Interpersonal skills level has seen an increase of 6%, self-comprehension an increase of 3.5%, and the autonomy score has increased by 3%. Overall, the resilience scores through the years show a significant increase.
Also, the trust between neighbours showed a relative increase of 40% (!).
Currently the biggest challenge is to maintain this positive impact, positive workfloor spirit, and community specific approach, while institutionally growing at a faster pace each year.
This NGO was founded 8 years ago, and received a grant for work in five fields (currently 75 in four countries, and soon expanding to Bolivia and Mexico).
Since 2008, the methodology has been evaluated and improved year by year based on the experiences. Currently, we have a very stable and proven methodology, that is still innovating - especially on social capital and youth training themes - but has a fixed base (the classes, execution, etc) which shows the first results of our sustainable approach: the first neighbours have become self-leading network actors.
Despite this positive news, and the visible growth of public knowledge about the NGO, it is clear that our biggest challenge will be an institutional one: how do we not lose experience/ knowledge/finetuning /control while growing fast.
When I once asked the director this question, we discussed the answer for quite a long time. Also, because it is a question that can either be answered with operational or more philosophical answers.
We found too many answers for this question to form a clear answer... However, a week later, the same topic came around once more. He told me he had thought about this for some more time and told me that if there was one lesson that he learnt most, it is that in the case of fútbol más, with its methodology based on positive reinforcement and the alleviation for the people that need it most, it has been that with enough spirit, positive energy and teamwork, you can move a whole country towards positive change.
With this spirit, instead of having to adjust your objective downwards, you strangely end up in a place or situation which is even higher than you had aimed before.The positivity of the program, of the impact, starts being a proper entity that creates an even bigger impact