Af Anders Monrad Rendtorff, formand
Seen from my chair, the past year in GAME has brought nothing less than an international breakthrough, an identification of the core principles needed to make a difference, crucial support for the Danish Flagship programs, and remarkable results with increased impact and 41 % financial growth.
2017 became the year when GAME’s international aspirations gained momentum and reached a major breakthrough. In August GAME launched a partnership project in Somaliland making the fragile self-declared state on Africa’s Horn the first new country in a decade to benefit from GAME’s proven street sports concepts for social change. Some people ask why Somaliland, as we could have found many other countries less complicated to engage with. But we have chosen Somaliland, not based on its convenience and infrastructure, but on the prospects of making a significant positive impact for local children and youth in this vulnerable society.
And it doesn’t stop with Somaliland either. In the past year GAME has secured funding for scaling the impact to an additional six countries, adding Jordan, Greece, Italy, Lithuania, and Malta to the map in 2018 followed by Tunisia in 2020. To make sure the capacity and impact is well anchored in the chosen settings, the various projects will be implemented in close partnership with trusted local partners.
Strong Core Principles
While the partners will ensure the adaption of the GAME’s concept of social change through youth-led street sports and culture to the respective countries, then the substantial expansion will equally require us to reflect on the roots which have created the fruits. That is why our staff and volunteers have contributed with important input to a strategic focus on how to create a successful rollout with the ‘GAME spirit/methods’ intact. It concluded that five things are paramount to remember, when ‘packing the suitcase’ before hitting new asphalt strips in Europe, The Middle East, and Africa.
First of all we must always make sure that children and youth are able to participate regardless of gender, religion, cultural or social background, financial means or skills. Secondly the activities must be youth-led as our young Playmakers have proven to be an indispensable asset for the outreach activities. Sustainable facilities that are both accessible and flexible in their offerings are also a must-have, just like advocating for a locally relevant issue is. Examples of such could be campaigns for more public space for sport, as we have seen in Lebanon with the campaign ‘Looking for a Place to Dream’ during the last months of 2017. Last but not least strong visual communication has always been part of GAME’s success and branding should therefore always be present on frontline staff, volunteers, facilities, and at event sites in order to welcome the street sports enthusiasts.
Sustained Support for Flagship Programs
Looking at the well-run Danish operation, which will continue to be the base of the organization many years ahead, it has been another year with a healthy organic growth. With GAME’s dependency on the continued support from a few major donors in regard to two of its flagship programs, the year was expected to be a bit more turbulent than it turned out. With new significant support from Nordea-fonden and Novo Nordisk Foundation, I am however happy to see that we have lived up to the expectations and that we will be able to continue the efforts under the National Platform for Street Sports as well as continue the development of the Playmaker program in the coming years.
The results these programs have produced do speak for themselves and I am particularly fond of the 373 street sports projects supported and the impressive 170,000 active children and youth reached since the Platform’s inception three years ago – 70% more than we aimed for.
Remarkable Results That Matters
In 2017 GAME has taken significant steps in order to scale the impact. On the financial side, the revenue has grown by an impressive 41% to 4.1 mill. Euro (2016: 2.8 mill. Euro). The surplus has increased to 0.1 mill. Euro (2016: 0.04 mill. Euro), equivalent to 3% of the revenue. Out on the asphalt the number of members is impressive 7,420 and the collective attendance at the activities hit 120.113. And on the list of the world’s best NGOs, GAME has improved its position and is now placed as 179 (2016: 186).
While heading forcefully towards ambitious and visionary goals, are we focusing right? How do we balance the impressive growth with the need for constant developments of methods and standards, ready for scaling?
What will be important in the next five years?
As the Chairman of GAME I will take initiative to an open inclusive process that will allow for the emergence of a new strategy that enables GAME to deliver innovative solutions to global challenges for youth in the future.
On behalf of GAME, I would like to thank our many Playmakers, donors, and partners as well as our professional and engaged staff, all of whom have played their part in the significant achievements over the past year. Your contributions have been of great inspiration and have turned asphalt strips in less advantaged neighborhoods into arenas of equality. Keep up the good work!