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21/3-201856 young people join the Playmaker Program in Somaliland

The first camp, intended to educate Somaliland’s youth to run trainings in their local area, has been held this February!

In collaboration with SONYO, the largest umbrella organization for youth organizations in Somaliland, GAME has succeeded in launching the Playmaker Program in Hargeisa.

70 percent of Somaliland’s young people under 30 are unemployed. By participating in GAME’s Playmaker Program in Somaliland, the country’s youth now have a unique opportunity to use street sports as a tool to create positive changes for themselves and other children in the fragile self-proclaimed country.

“It was an extremely successful camp with lots of committed girls and boys,” says Yoonis N. Hussein, GAME’s project coordinator in Somaliland.

Focus on gender equality
This expansion is highly notable as GAME has worked with the Playmaker Program as a method of social change in vulnerable residential areas in Denmark since 2002 and in Lebanon since 2007.

Like the Danish and Lebanese Playmakers – Somaliland’s Playmakers are trained to embrace leadership, resolve conflicts peacefully, promote active communities and create training sessions in street basketball and street football.

“Most of the elements are the same as in Denmark. However, the local context has been taken into account. One of our goals is to create greater cohesion and reconciliation as clan-based discrimination and stigmatization is a challenge in the country,” explains Yoonis N. Hussein, while stressing the key attribute of the Playmaker Program:

“We have a big focus on gender equality and conflict management.”

Equal amount of girls and boys
Equality and recruitment of girls to the Playmaker training in Somaliland is a priority. 40 percent participation of girls attended the first Playmaker Camp in Somaliland, driving the programme right direction, according to GAME’s CEO, Simon Prahm who helped spearhead GAME to Somaliland:

“We have been told many times that girls are not allowed to play sports. But we have found that under the right conditions and with permission from parents, it IS possible,” he continues:

“For the past four years we’ve screened various countries to find out where to engage. In the case of Somaliland, where around 70 % of the population is younger than 30 years, and where as many as 70 % of these find themselves outside the job market, we thought it made good sense to provide more opportunities for youth engagement.”

Three training zones open in Hargeisa
After the first successful Playmaker Camp in Hargeisa, staff and volunteers have begun to recruit children to three different training zones opening in Hargeisa: A basketball zone for girls only; a mixed football zone’ and a combination zone where football and basketball are on the program.

During spring another Playmaker Camp will be waiting for the young playmakers in Somaliland, which will run weekly basketball and football training in Hargeisa.

The program is proudly supported by the CISU (Civil Society in Development) under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.