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‘Fair play’ for cooperation, gender equality, and integration


April 13, 2012, Durrës, Albania: More than 120 children from the regions of Durrës and Tirana, gathered at the “Niko Dovana” football stadium in Durrës, to play ‘fair-play’ football and engaged in carefully selected Movement,Games, Sports (MGS) methodology-based psychosocial games which promote cooperation instead of competition and inclusion instead of discrimination. Jointly organized by the staff of Tdh’s MOVE project, in collaboration with the Albanian Football Association (FShF), the Municipality of Durrës, and partner organizations such as ARSIS, Enfant du Monde – FBSh, World Vision, Rromani Baxt, Nehemia Foundation, “Dielli i Mëngjesit” Center, and Durrës Children’s Home, this event brought together children from different ethnic and social backgrounds, with 30 of them being members of local FShF football clubs. The aim of this activity was to promote through sports and games the psychosocial development of children, with a special focus this time on notions of cooperation, gender equality, and integration.

“On behalf of the Municipality of Durrës, the Albanian Football Association and Terre des hommes, I welcome all you children here today. Let’s spend these hours by having fun, engaging in psychosocial games, playing football, and most importantly getting to know each other,” said Mr. Adrian Gurra, Director of the Education, Sport and Culture Department at the Municipality of Durrës. Reflecting on the benefits of sports and psychosocial activities for children and advocating for further support and continuation of such activities, Mr. Dritan Babamusta, Regional Director of FShF said: “Sports are more than a game; they are a set of life lessons. Through sports and games children learn to work together, acquire leadership skills, get a sense of discipline and learn communication skills. When psychosocial elements are incorporated in sports and games, the impact on children is greater as their abilities to trust, empathize, respect and to have consideration of surrounding environments and people are further developed.”
Enthusiasm and feelings of joy were evident amongst the 8 mixed groups of children who engaged in ‘fair-play’ football sessions and MGS methodology-based psychosocial games such as the ‘Magic Circle’, ‘Dragon’s tail’, etc.“I had so much fun playing all of the games, especially the one with the hula-hoops,”_said Ema, a 12 year old girl from Tirana, while sharing her experience with the Magic Circle game. _“I had so many hoops to pass onto my friend without letting go of his hand that I was worried I was not going to make it, but he helped me and I did it All the time the boys were passing the ball to us, and it was nice because all us girls were participating,” added Anisa from Durrës, after playing Fair play Football.
As these events promote the importance of participation, inclusion and gender equality, while focusing away from ‘winning’, competitiveness and exclusion, they will continue to be organized on marked days for children’s rights, until the end of June, 2012, throughout Albania, in collaboration with various local partners and FShF. These events are in line with MOVE project objectives, a project generously funded by UEFA since 2009 which aims to improve the well-being of children and to help prevent child exploitation through games and sports. [F.G & E.P]