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ARFAI & SEED Footy Forward in East

Posted on Monday, January 13, 2020 by ARFAI,

The Australian High Commission, New Delhi funded Direct Aid Program (DAP) to work with Australian Football in three eastern states of India is a fantastic recognition for the work put in by the state associations to develop Australian Rules Football in the states of West Bengal, Odisha and Jharkhand. ARFAI is a delivery partner of Kolkata based NGO – SEED, the managing partner for the program.

The programme kick-started on ground on 25thJuly 2019 at the Angrail High School campus in Bongaon, West Bengal. Mr. Andrew Ford, the Australian Consul General to Kolkata inaugurated the program officially through a tri-state friendly tournament between the beneficiary states under the project. The teams comprised of the Youth Leaders from respective states, most of whom had not played the sport before and was introduced to the sport through a training session the very morning. The ARFAI coaches stopped the games at intervals to explain rules and techniques to be used during a game.

Video – Bengali News Channel Story

The program aims to provide life skill education to 2000 marginalized children from three eastern Indian states between the age of 10 to 16 years using Australian Rules Football (Footy) as a tool. Using sports as the leveler and creating a safe, welcoming environment for the children, help them get introduced to Footy and teach the best practices of life.

At the initial stage, there was a two-day training camp for the Youth Leaders and first batch of junior players. Day 1 saw introduction of Australian Football to the 45 Youth Leaders from the three states through an hour-long presentation indoors at Angrail High School campus followed by introduction of basic skills and rules of the sport outdoors. Upon completion of the same, the Youth Leaders were provided with the opportunity to participate in the sport themselves.

The Community Youth Leaders with ARFAI officials and trainers

Following the first-hand experience of participating in the sport themselves after the morning skills workshop, the Youth Leaders introduced the sport to the first batch of participants of West Bengal from two schools of Bongaon region in the evening.

On the second day, the 45 Youth Leaders from the three states (40 male and 5 female) were introduced to ARFAI’s Monitoring & Evaluation methods and made to sign the ARFAI’s Child Protection Policy (CPP). They were then provided with basic coach’s training of Australian Football before they were taken through a recap session on what they have learnt in the two days, details of the DAP program in their respective states, the tasks ahead and the process to follow by the ARFAI officials.

All three states organized a day long skills workshop for their state Youth Leaders in Ranchi – Jharkhand, Mayurbhanj – Odisha and Bongaon – West Bengal early in the month of August in preparation for the Youth leaders to be prepared and confident for rolling out introduction of the new sport in their respective districts.

Skills workshop for Youth Leaders in Odisha

The ARFAI coaches visited five districts each of Jharkhand, Odisha and West Bengal in September and October along with the new Youth Leaders from those districts and were excited to find the development in skills of both the Youth Leaders and junior players (both boys and girls), added to the overflowing excitement for the new sport.

SEED carried out the life-skills education session in all three states to help develop the Youth Leaders while they continued training children in their own districts and once again, all participants cherished the opportunity that they have got to develop a new sport among children along with developing their own skills as individuals and leaders.

SEED conducted training programmes in all the three states in the ToT (Training of the Trainers) mode. All the Life Skill education sessions delivered to the ARFAI Youth Leaders were broken into five interactive, fun filled and thought-provoking sessions focusing on the following –

  • Ice breaking session through a coordination game
  • Goal setting
  • Communication skills
  • Leadership development skills
  • Team building

SEED Life Skill trainer with the Youth Leaders in Jharkhand

In addition to the above, SEED carried out multiple workshops specially catered for the female students in the schools visited by ARFAI Youth Leaders to enhance the reproductive health and decision-making abilities of adolescent girls by using a participatory, community-development approach. The training module included-

  • Understanding of their own selves and increase their capacities and life skills to deal with real life situations in both social and health spheres.
  • Education through interpersonal communication with trainers of SEED and some relatable videos from YouTube. Social support networks created for the girls by forming women’s and adolescent community groups that get together every three months to increase understanding between mothers and daughters.

ARFAI and SEED looks forward to introducing the sport and life-skill training more widely across the three states, find talented athletes who can get the opportunity to excel in sports along with becoming leaders and role models in their own communities.