Lebanon is currently facing compounding crises: financial and economic. According to the World Bank, ‘the unfolding economic and financial crisis that started in October 2019 has been further exacerbated by the dual economic impact of the COVID-19 outbreak, and the massive Port of Beirut explosion in August 2020.’ The Syrian crisis has contributed an influx of refugees to an already growing Lebanese population. Today, the country hosts the highest number of refugees per capita worldwide, according to UNHCR, the UN refugee agency.
WDF’s 2023 fundraiser project Empowering Lebanese and refugee children and youth through sports to prevent NCDs will be rolled out by GAME Lebanon, an international NGO working for social change through youth-led street sports and culture. GAME has been active in Lebanon since 2007.
The project will focus on strengthening access to public spaces for sports, addressing physical inactivity in children and youth in urban areas across Lebanon and nurturing participants’ life skills through trainings built around GAME’s Street Sports for Life Skills curriculum.
It will target Lebanese and refugee children and youth who live in disadvantaged urban communities and are not active in sports activities. It will also focus on increasing awareness about the importance of physical activity and healthy lifestyle within their local communities.
The project will train 75 Playmakers - youth leader volunteers who serve as health promotion ambassadors. These ambassadors will attend yearly training camps to help them lead free weekly street sports activities for children, aged 7 to 15 years, in public spaces (called GAME Zones) in Beirut, Tripoli, Saida, and Sour. Additionally, family events will be organised where kids and parents can learn about the positive impact of a healthy lifestyle on mental health and wellbeing, how to form good food habits, and how to be physically active as a family.
GAME volunteers will also help organise a Global Diabetes Walk in Beirut involving kids and their parents from the GAME Zones to advocate for a healthy lifestyle.. At the national level, the project will build on these efforts to further strengthen the political and public attention on the need for public spaces for sports in Lebanon.
“Through this project, GAME aims to promote healthy living and proper nutrition among children in Lebanon,” says Lynn Hajj, GAME Lebanon Communications Coordinator. “It will increase the children's weekly physical activities and provide a platform for delivering nutrition-based education to them, as well as their parents and caregivers.”
The project will take place over 18 months (2023 – 24)
Its targets include:
- 75 Playmakers (volunteer street sports instructors and role models) trained using GAME’s proven train-the-trainer concept. 12 of the Playmakers will also be coached as Health Promotion Ambassadors
- 1250 children and youth from less advantaged families attend the Playmaker-led activities and gain access to free and inclusive street sports
- Media, politicians, relevant actors and the general public increase awareness for access to organized sport and physical activity spaces