The United Nations (UN) has set an agenda of 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to ensure a better world by 2030 that includes all members of society. SDG 4: Quality Education, aims to ensure inclusive, equitable education for all. How can sport help to meet this goal? Is it possible to transfer this knowledge so that anyone in the world can take it up?
School has occupied an important place in the lives of children and young people all over the world. They spend 13 years in this place where they live experiences, strengthen personal relationships with peers and incorporate knowledge from different areas to implement them in any scenario. It is in this context that Fútbol Más Foundation shows up to benefit the educational community and spread the methodology of sport for development.
In recent years, Fútbol Más Foundation has innovated in its work with children by including the teaching team as the central axis of the Schools and Methodology Transfer programmes implemented in different parts of the world, such as Chile, Haiti and Peru. This has always been with the aim of promoting healthy school coexistence through the development of socio-emotional skills and the provision of tools for educators.
Building safe spaces for children involves all active agents within a society. However, in schools, being a special and unique environment, the cooperation of teachers, educational assistants and families is even more essential, because the impact on the student’s life can shape their professional and personal lives in the future.
This meddling has different fronts to cover, such as school coexistence, bullying and student violence, quality of education and dropping out of school. These are conflicts or situations that are present in everyday life and that can be tackled through sport and play in order to solve relationship problems or aggression.
After the earthquake in Haiti in 2010, access to education became more difficult, due to the lack of infrastructure, living conditions and the cycle of poverty. According to the latest report released by the UN in 2018, nearly 50% of children of school age are not enrolled in a school.
On the other hand, according to figures from the Superintendence of Education in Chile, 916 complaints have been received in the first quarter of 2021 alone, including discrimination, psychological mistreatment or failures in the delivery of educational materials.
In the same line of violence among students or by the teaching staff is Peru. To counteract it, the local Ministry of Education created a system to report situations of physical, psychological and sexual aggression within schools: SíseVe. From 2013 to April this year, this platform has had 40,033 cases reported, with an average of 5,000 complaints per year.
How does Fútbol Más Foundation contribute to a positive atmosphere of school coexistence in the classroom or in common spaces? Games and sport are tools that allow to make learning processes more playful, to intensify physical activity beyond sporting learning or to enable the connection between teachers and family caregivers. These are ways of taking action, where the socio-sport methodology is a link between formal and informal education.
However, work is not concentrated in a single school, but rather the coexistence between schools, which is important to develop a community. This concept is deeply rooted in Fútbol Más Foundation’s culture, as participation becomes essential to foster links that are often under desks or a blackboard without being visible or taken into account, i.e. in sight of the entire educational community, but without concrete action.
2020 was a different year for formal education. The Covid-19 pandemic challenged remote learning, the work of teachers and the combination of personal and professional time that often did not fit together. Not to mention that the hours of screen time and internet connection were inconvenient for teaching. A totally new scenario, even for this foundation.
This is why Mi Casa, mi Cancha was born, a programme of Fútbol Más Foundation, which went in search of families who were living in confinement, facing a health crisis for the first time. Audiovisual support provided the possibility of learning about personal hygiene, healthy lifestyle habits and physical activity in small spaces. The same thing that was done in the pitches around the world was to go beyond the screen and be installed in the living room of the home.
Nevertheless, given the need to support teachers, all the inputs of this remote programme were taken to the virtual room, where the cameras and microphones were turned on, allowing them to be closer and closer. Socio-sports material that was able to give a new lease of life to the educational work carried out in the different schools.
According to the study area of Fútbol Más Foundation, 80% of teachers in schools in the Metropolitan and O’Higgins regions in Chile believed that the material provided was a contribution to their daily work. Meanwhile, 71% felt it was a solution to make their teaching work easier and faster in the face of the high demand for content delivery.
On the other hand, in the same line is Haiti, the first country where the Schools programme was carried out by the organisation. During 2020, Fútbol Más worked directly with 10 public schools in the West department of the tropical island thanks to the local Ministry of Education and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB). With face-to-face sessions, audiovisual capsules adapted to Creole and support for 30 teachers, the impact reached 1,140 children and youngsters.
During 2020, Fútbol Más Foundation Peru continued to work in schools in Metropolitan Lima. However, this time the focus was on transferring tools to teachers to help them understand the socio-sports methodology, create a safe environment for children and provide emotional support in difficult times such as the pandemic.
Through the training, 206 teachers of different subjects from the seven Local Education Management Units (UGEL) of Metropolitan Lima were certified, indirectly impacting 7,434 children and young people. This means that formal education is willing to receive cooperation from external agents, as this is a universal right that deserves to be guaranteed.
Methodological transfer is here to stay in educational communities around the world, with the aim of delivering knowledge and socio-emotional development within the framework of resilience applied to sport. Fútbol Más Foundation seeks to transform realities, and schools are places where everyday something new is discovered. Therefore, being present in the classroom, in the playground or through the screen will always be beneficial to further promote physical activity and be an emotional support during periods of social isolation.