Spirit of Soccer in Columbia

“It is essential for children in high-risk areas to receive more innovative education in mine awareness.”United Nations Report on the Impact of Armed Conflict on Children

We are excited to announce the launch of our new project with Spirit of Soccer in Colombia. Every day children are killed or maimed by landmines and weapons of war.  Spirit of Soccer’s multi-award winning Mine Risk Education (MRE) program used soccer games and drills to deliver internationally approved safety messages in a fun, inclusive environment.

Since 1996 Spirit of Soccer has delivered MRE through soccer to over 350,000 children worldwide. Find A Better Way is proud to have supported Spirit of Soccer projects programs since January 2014, and we are pleased to announce that we will be exclusively funding a 10-month program to approximately 3,000 at risk children from a mine-polluted community in Colombia.

The Project

To deliver the program Spirit of Soccer are working with the COLOMBIANITOS Foundation, one of the most respected sport-for-development organisations in the world with over 12 years experience using soccer as a platform for social education all over Colombia.  Over 7 million people have been killed, disappeared or displaced by Colombia’s long-running civil conflict, most of them civilians. 31 out of 32 Departments in the country are classified as mine-contaminated with mines and Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) present near schools, pathways and water sources. In Colombia one-third of landmine victims are children.

To tackle this problem the COLOMBIANITOS Foundation uses a methodology called ‘Goals for a Better Life’ which integrates dynamic games and sport with positive messages around a variety of social topics. By combining Spirit of Soccer’s years of experience in delivering MRE in post-conflict communities with COLOMBIANITOS’ knowledge, high level of influence and network of local coaches and partners, this project will quickly create a powerful resource for mine action through soccer for Colombia with the potential for scale.

Our Aims & Impact

30 coaches are currently being trained to deliver MRE to 3,000 children directly through soccer programs, and 5,000 children will indirectly benefit through supporting multi-media campaigns.  This will have a measurable impact on the knowledge base of children in the community and will change behaviours and decision-making capabilities of young people in Columbia. Ultimately this project will save lives of young people in Colombia regions at risk of being injured by landmines.

For further information about this project you can find our project outline here.