Taking Back Our Streets: Street Football Initiative
News March 12, 2018, |Taking Back Our Streets
Manenberg is frequently beset by gang fights and otherwise usable public spaces have become abandoned. Territories are divided and many areas have become no-go areas or blocked off by the so-called “invisible barriers” that prevent youth from the area being able to cross freely into areas, seen to be territory belonging to a rival gang.
Recently, in the relative peace following of a very violent recent gang fight during which kids were trapped inside their homes, afterwards, we saw young people immediately take to the streets to play soccer, showing the strong desire of young people to be free and happy. It was this demonstration of resilience that inspired the Street Champs project: if youth are willing, then we must also be willing.
Street Champs is a collaborative project led by Manenberg Resource Centre but with the support and participation of a collective of youth organisations. There are several youth groups in Manenberg but they rarely reach kids where they are: on the streets. This project aims to take back the streets in some of Manenberg’s hotspot areas and allow young people to play again.
- Sports & Arts: Street Champs has been designed to attract a broad range of youth as possible by offering diverse street sports – football, netball and touch rugby – as well as arts and cultural activities – music and dance.
- Life skills: Using a format of “team talks” before and after the games, life skills lessons will be integrated into the activities, taking the project beyond mere diversion and helping to develop young people socially and mentally as well as physically.
- Mentoring and support: Street Champs will train and mobilise local people to be facilitators of the street activities. Their role will be to coordinate and deliver activities but also to build relationships and support local young people, getting to know their issues and helping them access further support where necessary.
Project times and duration: We are proposing a pilot project to test that will run for 3 afternoons per week for the next 6 months rotating between 3 sites each month. The pilot will also include a Wednesday evening 5-a-side ‘fair play football’ tournament between 6 teams played over 12 weeks.
Target: Our target group is youth aged 11 -24. We aim to reach over 500 youth over this period. We are also aiming to train 15 street champions that will be working with these youth on a weekly basis running life skills and mentoring sessions.
Street Champs is a collaborative project involving diverse partners from across Manenberg, through the umbrella of a new Manenberg youth development partnership convened and coordinated by international youth sports for development organisation Fight for Peace. FFP will be providing training, management support and monitoring and evaluation resources to track participation, assess effectiveness, and help demonstrate project impact
The lead partner will be Manenberg Recourse Centre (MRC) – a new organization founded by 3 vibrant young people living and growing up in Manenberg which is seeking to help create safe areas for youth. Additional community partners, who will support with delivery and logistics in each of the selected sites, include: Easter Peak Community Safety and Welfare Organisation. SANZAF, Manenberg People’s Centre, Jordan Callies Football Club, and Florentina Netball Club.