Garowe/Somaila, 9 April 2023 - Jointly with Qatar Charity and Qatar Fund for Development (QFFD), Save the Dream has marked the completion of field activities in Garowe, State of Puntland, Somalia, wrapping up the implementation of a series of capacity building activities within the “Saving Children’s Dreams in Somalia through Sport” project and immediately reaching over 10,000 youth and their families in the city.
The project is part of the Sport for Development and Peace (SDP) initiative jointly led by QFFD and Charity, which seeks to highlight sport as an effective tool for building societies, empowering, and inspiring children and youth in less developed countries, and as a contribution to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which recognizes sport as an important enabler of sustainable development.
Developed with the institutional support of UNESCO, the project aims to promote peace and reconciliation in Somalia through empowering youth and creating opportunities for vulnerable groups.
Started in November 2022, it was intended to pave the way for the launch of new and long-term programmes and initiatives aimed at enabling and inspiring young leaders through sport, as well as promoting sport as a tool for positive social change in their communities.
The initial phases started with a “Train the Trainer (TTT)” programme for local experts envisaging workshops, an interschool football tournament, sport clinics inside internally displaced people (IDPs) camps, schools, and sport facilities.
An Advanced SDP Capacity Building Programme for Stakeholders was organized for 50 stakeholders comprising local educators, physical education teachers, community development actors, representatives from municipalities, sports and educational institutions and federations, universities, NGOs, and youth leaders. Sports materials, resources and tools were provided to local entities to support them in the organization of future sport activities and educational programmes.
The project envisaged the organization of the first-ever interschool football tournament in Garowe called by locals the “Save the Dream Cup”, in full coordination with the municipality, the schools, and the overall community of Garowe.
Hosted by Gambol High School in Garowe, the tournament saw the participation of eight schools. As may as 120 students from four high schools and four elementary schools in Garowe, including two schools for children from IDP camps competed in a round-robin system.
The final took place at the Mire Aware Stadium of Garowe during the “Save the Dream Festival” attended by more than 10,000 people, including children, youth, IDP communities, as well as by high-level officials of the Puntland State, project partners, sport testimonials and role models.
Gambol School beat Al Waha School in the high school finals while Shabeelle IDPs School defeated Jillab 2 IDPs School, bringing home the first title of “Save the Dream Cup.”
Field activities were implemented under the oversight of Save the Dream officials, alongside Suad Galow, founder of Somali Women Foundation, Honey Thaljieh, the Palestinian women’s national team’s first captain and Ambassador of the Save the Dream, and Ali Fouad, Head Goalkeeper Coach from Aspire Academy.
Since its inception, the project strongly benefited from the expertise provided by the implementing partners, namely Qatar Charity, Qatar Fund For Development and Save the Dream, as well as many other leading organizations like UNESCO, Aspire Academy, Qatar University, the UN Office of Counter-Terrorism, the UN Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflicts, and Sport and Dev.
Nawaf Abdullah Al Hammadi, CEO’s assistant for the International Operations and Programs sector at Qatar Charity, said “Qatar Charity is pleased to join forces once again with the SDP initiative’s partners to reach local communities and capitalize on the positive values of sport. Sports has the unique power to bring people together, while creating safe spaces for interaction among refugees and internally displaced children and youth.”
Sultan Al Aseeri, Deputy Director General for Projects at QFFD, said “sports play an integral role in the lives of children and youth, it promotes peace and creates a sense of community. QFFD support these initiatives as they align with our mission of using sports as a means of development and peace.”
Prof. Hubert Gijzen, Director, UNESCO Regional Office for Eastern Africa said: “UNESCO associates with Save the Dream on Sport for Development and Peace and salutes its inclusive model, community-pronged approach and capacity building focus aimed at accelerating transformative leadership and empowerment of the youth as drivers of positive change and resilience in Garowe and beyond, through the power of sports and the arts. This work echoes well with the UNESCO Fit For Life initiative.”
Massimiliano Montanari, CEO ICSS and Save the Dream, said:” It gives us a great joy to see local stakeholders willing to make use of the tools we have provided and taking the lead with a strong vision on the future they want.
“And it is with pride that we have inaugurated the first inter-school tournament in the city of Garowe, an initiative conceived to continue across the years. We now aim to continue our work here and make of the Garowe project a model to be replicated across the State of Puntland, Somalia at large and in the neighboring countries.”
Honey Thaljieh, the first captain of the Palestinian women’s national team, co-founder of women’s football in Palestine and Save the Dream Ambassador, said: “As a Palestinian, I grew up in a context of conflict and violence, like Somali children and youth, I have been through numerous challenges. However, if you have a dream and you work hard, you can reach your dreams.”
For her part, Suad Gallow, founder of Somali Women Foundation, said the programme represents a unique opportunity to enhance capacity-building through football, engaging vulnerable youth groups from various areas of Somalia.
The results achieved by the programme were praised by the mayor of Garowe City, Abdikadir Mohamud Mohamed, who emphasized the importance of the initiative and its unique outcome in terms of promoting sport as a vehicle to promote peace, break down cultural, political, and social barriers and to help integrate youth living in Somalia into society, shielding them from divides.