Aqaba, 30 March 2022 – The closing event of the Youth-Led Football Program took place today at the stadium in Aqaba, Jordan, in the presence of the Ambassador of Italy in Jordan Luciano Pezzotti, the Director of the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation (AICS) in Amman Emilio Cabasino, the AVSI Country Manager Nicola Orsini and the head of the junior department of the Italian Footballers Association (AIC), the world champion Simone Perrotta.
Among the social protection projects implemented in Jordan and financed by the Italian government through AICS, AVSI is carrying out in partnership with Terre des Hommes Italy the project “Mujtamai Amani: my community is my safety”, that aims at promoting social inclusion and improving psychophysical well-being of minors and adults among refugees and host communities in the governorates of Aqaba, Mafraq and Zarqa. The beneficiaries were identified following a vulnerability assessment of the population and in coordination with the Jordanian Ministry of Social Development.
In the city of Aqaba, AVSI has implemented, among other activities, a football program addressed to the most vulnerable Syrian and Jordanian children, that involved over 550 children and 33 young coaches in 2 years.
“The sports program, created in collaboration with the Italian Football Association, is part of a broader collaboration signed in Rome between the Directorate General for Development Cooperation (DGCS) of MAECI, the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation and the Italian Football Association, to propose sport as a tool for integration, growth and social inclusion, within development cooperation projects”, explains Ambassador Pezzotti.
The main objective of the Youth-Led Football Program was to increase the resilience of children and promote a culture of peace that helps prevent psychological distress and improve social cohesion, an aspect of great importance in a country like Jordan where lives’ people of the local community and refugees intertwine on a daily basis.
“The involvement and active participation of the local population and refugees represent an essential basis for an integrated intervention of psychosocial protection – says the director of AICS Amman Cabasino – in which the strengthening of the most disadvantaged communities is also fueled by the potential of the social capital that it is built through recreational activities “.
“Football is an instrument of cooperation between peoples – according to Umberto Calcagno, president of AIC – A single language, capable of promoting the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals set for 2030. Thanks to the work of our Junior AIC Department’s former players, for years we have been promoting an educational model aimed at the growth of the child through sport. The mission in Jordan, like the other missions for which we are about to leave, reminds us that this way of understanding football can be useful in all parts of the world”.
AIC and AVSI share the same educational approach in which the child is placed “at the center of the game” of football, that also represents a moment of growth and learning. In this sense, the initiative represents “a positive experience on the ground: this project has seen AVSI and AIC work together to offer these young people the opportunity to follow their passion, sport, and through that rediscover the sense of challenge, of growth, personal and community development”, says Giampaolo Silvestri, general secretary of AVSI. “This is an example of what we call partnership for development, the only viable way today, which connects institutional, private and third sector subjects, with local realities, to take a step forward all together”.
Sports activities allowed the boys and girls involved in the training to acquire skills that will be useful in the future: teamwork, cooperation, communication, leadership, acceptance of others and a constructive approach to face both victories and losses. The girls and boys trained in Jordan have thus been able to transmit these same values through football to over 550 minors living in difficult social and family conditions.