Somaliland: Game Denmark to Launch “Youth-led Social Change through Street Sports” Project

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Simon Prahm of Game Denmark is briefed by Mahmoud Qodah head of the basketball association at the Timaáde grounds in Hargeisa Somaliland as DANIDA country chief looks on

By: Yusuf M Hasan

HARGEISA (Somalilandsun) – By the end of 2018 Somaliland will have over 200 of its young citizens trained as street sports instructors and youth role models under sponsorship by Game Denmark.

This was revealed by Simon Prahm the Game Denmark Co-founder and managing Director during an interview with Somalilandsun in Hargeisa where he and a colleague are visiting for purposes of on the ground project feasibility assessment.

Briefing on Game Denmark Mr Prahm who was flanked by the organization’s area representative for Eastern Africa Saeed Hussein a Dane of Somaliland origin said, “GAME is a Danish based Top 500 NGO founded in 2002. Seeing how marginalized youth from ethnic minorities could be brought together with resourceful youth and find common grounds around street basketball, street dance, street soccer, and parkour, Game turned to the idea of using sports as a vehicle for social change.

Since its inception the non-profit organization whose work revolves around promoting social change through street sports and street culture has been spurred by its successes in its home country to intervene internationally with the initial beneficiary country being Lebanon and now Somaliland.

On why and what prompted his organization’s choice of Somaliland as its next focus of intervention the Game Denmark co-founder first revealed that most of their beneficiaries back in Denmark are youthful Danes of Lebanese, Palestinian or Somaliland origin was a major driving factor.

Danida country chief Saeed Hussein and Simon Prahm of Game Denmark and DG youth and sports ministry at Timaade grounds Hargeisa Somaliland

“The choice of Somaliland as our second foreign country of establishing the GAME concept has been encouraged not only from interaction with youthful Danish-Somalilanders but the prevailing peace and security as well” added the young Dane whose idea born in 2002 is to see fruitation in the country between 2016 and 2018.

AS per the “Youth-led Social Change through Street Sports” Project intended for implementation in Somaliland in 2016-2018 Below are the full details as briefed www.Somalilandsun.com by Simon Prahm the Game Denmark Co-founder and managing Director

Quote- “Street sports have a role to play in fragile societies to prevent conflicts and build a more stable and better future. This concept note briefly describes the objectives, context, goals, strategy, and background of the project “Youth-led Social Change through Street Sports”.

The Project is intended for implementation in Somaliland in 2016-2018.

THE OBJECTIVE

Somaliland is our next stop says the managing Director of Game denmark Simon Prahm 2The objective of the projects is to establish a community based outreach initiative, capable of delivering lasting social change through youth-led street sports and culture. This is achieved by 1) training young Somalis as street sports instructors and role models and 2) Establishing durable outdoors as well as indoor facilities.

Using an appealing, cohesive, and authentic urban identity combined with a training the –trainer concept based on three levels of empowerment, the role models will become masers on how street sports can be used to target a variety of different social issues.

THE CONTEXT

In today’s Somaliland there is an explicit lack of opportunities – especially for the young people under 30 years, who make up an astonishing 70% of the population. With youth unemployment at around 75% the restlessness is growing. This calls for solutions to empower the youth and increase their opportunities in life.

Urban sports and culture provide an effective vehicle for such social change. And by including leadership training and the values of gender equality, democracy and teamwork in the activities, the country may take a bold step towards building a better and more stable future. Transforming the current despair to a hope for the future will also put a brake on extremist groups’ recruitment of supporters. By making this transformation youth-led, we put the development in the hands of the primary stakeholders of tomorrow.

THE GOALS FOR 2018

The concrete goals of the projects are to:

I. Train 200 young Somalis as street sports instructors and role models.

II. Organize weekly youth-led street sports practices in 10 less advantaged neighbourhoods.

III. Organize monthly tournaments and events during the four months season.

IV. Establish or renovate five outdoor street sports facilities.

V. Establish an indoor street sports facility as a hub for youth voluntarism

VI. Reach a total of 10,000 beneficiaries

THE STRATEGY

The strategy that will deliver the goals focuses on carefully selecting a handful of community partners. These partners will be responsible for delivering important input to the project in the form of local network and knowledge. Alongside this a local branch NGO (GAME Somaliland), which will host the project, is established.

THE BACKGROUND

GAME is a Danish based Top 500 NGO founded in 2002. Seeing how marginalized youth from ethnic minorities could be brought together with resourceful youth and find common grounds around street basketball, street dance, street soccer, and parkour, Game turned to the idea of using sports as a vehicle for social change.

Through the years the organization has gained extensive experiences, which has allowed for the development of innovative methods to increase the development aspects of the activities. One such initiative is an English and Arabic basketball compendium that introduces three levels of empowerment (individual, social and community), with a series of corresponding training themes (leadership, trust, democracy, etc.)

A Multi-cultural Game denmark playmakers in copenhagen

Over the past decade GAME has shown proof of concept when it comes to street sports and youth leadership. In 2014 GAME had more than 80,000 visits at its practices, tournaments, workshops, and open gyms in 42 neighbourhoods in Denmark and Lebanon. GAME has succeeded in creating an inclusive environment, as 90% report that they fell welcome and two out of three build new friendships.

Throughout the later years GAME has built award winning street sports facilities in concrete, steel, and asphalt. With or without roof, these form a natural hub for the empowering sports and leadership activities”-Unquote

According to the Game Denmark area representative for Eastern Africa Saeed Hussein the current visit by his boss was preceded by various feasibility studies that have not only unearthed the huge absence of street sports facilities as well as skilled managers and instructors in the country but a similar desire for such by local youths.

“Having presented our project proposal to the Somaliland government through the ministry of sports, youth and tourism whose officials at all levels have been very helpful and encouraging, am not hesitant in revealing that the “Youth-led Social Change through Street Sports” Game Denmark project in Somaliland shall launch in 2016″

Quarried on the project’s geographical coverage both the Game Denmark Managing Director and East African Area representative were Game somaliland launching in 2016 says saeed Hussein 2quick to stress that their interventions shall be enjoyed by youths in each and every corner of Somaliland though the capital Hargeisa has been chosen as the launching pad.

On the issue of the proposed Game Somaliland, the non-governmental organization charged with on the ground implementation of the Youth-led Social Change through Street Sports venture in the country the Danish- Somalilander said “So far we are still identifying potential partners to man our local activities but for now it is suffice to inform that with the cooperation from the ministry of youth and sports Game Somaliland shall be fully operation come 2016”

Having revealed that the Game Denmark concept does not segregate on religion, tribe or gender Saeed Hussein stressed that availing equal opportunities to all within target beneficiaries which is the main tenet of the organization shall guide GAME Somaliland activities as well.

In support of his colleague Simon Prahm said that based on past experiences that have ensued with GAME successfully interacting various backgrounds be they religious like Christians and Muslims, or diverse Islamic sects like Sunnis and Shias etc. not to mention multicultural , the project in Somaliland shall operate similarly thence encompass all local clans as well as give equal opportunities to both gender while respecting traditional and Islamic tenets governing the conduct of girls/women.

While thanking all those within the public administration, private entities and individuals who have so far indicate support both morally and otherwise for his organization’s incoming venture in Somaliland the Game Denmark Co-founder and Managing Director Simon Prahm did not forget ordinary citizens whom he termed as very cordial and welcoming

“The enthusiasm of Somalilanders who are very open and friendly has been very encouraging as pertains success of our project in the country” said

Queried on his pre and on visit perception of Somaliland Simon Prahm who is on his first visit to the country said that despite his awareness of difference between the little known peaceful Somaliland and the well-known volatile Somalia, “I had trepidations thence crossed fingers in anticipation and expectations for whatever was in store”

But now feeling secure as in his hometown not to mention being that endowed with empirical knowledge the Dane whose knowledge about Somaliland was garnered from media reports, negative, hopes that intensified means of availing the international community factual information on the real Somaliland as opposed to Somalia is achieved and the Sooner the better.

In conclusion a very optimistic Simon Prahm who revealed that his Game Denmark NGO has relations with USA’s National Basketball Association told Somalilandsun that once Game Somaliland is launched Game Denmark will push for making a visit from an NBA star reality if the security situation continous to improve.

Game Denmark Co founder and managing Director Simon Prahm and the organizations area representative for Eastern Africa Saeed Hussein during an interview with Somalilandsun at damal hotel in Hargeisa

For more insights on Game Denmark visit http://gamedenmark.org/en/ 

Copyright © 2015 Somalilandsun, All rights reserved.

www.somalilandsun.com 

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