By Anders Rendtorff

In the last days of 2018 and with 152 countries voting in favor, the world saw the light of a much-needed new resolution – the Global Compact for Migration.

The new resolution is without a predecessor and it will seek to address all dimensions of international migration in a holistic and comprehensive manner. This is indispensable and something we applaud in GAME, as a distressing and historically high number of people are displaced and forced to migrate due to conflicts. With this longevity forced displacement is no longer an isolated humanitarian problem, but a broader development and security challenge as well. This calls for solutions that can address the acute needs in or close to the homeland, help facilitate stability in the receiving countries, when safe return isn’t around the corner and work against marginalization of ethnic minorities.

One of the things that makes me most proud of being part of GAME is that we are able to do all three. In 2018 we provided life-saving support via cash distributions to refugee youth in Lebanon benefitting their families who have fled the civil war in Syria. And in all countries where we operate our young Playmakers continue to build social cohesion out on the asphalt between newcomers and the local population. This empowers young people to take active part in society and to make their voice count. It also improves the stability and lowers the risk of radicalization, racism and other forms of discrimination.

In the past year we have educated no less than 500 young role models who have organized weekly open and free street sports activities in Jordan, Somaliland, Lebanon, and Denmark. They are the true heroes in GAME.

New strategy: Growing Together
In the course of 2018 we have focused on developing a new strategy through a participatory process where staff, board, management, and volunteers have given their input on where GAME should be heading in the coming four years (2019-2022). In later years we’ve dared to draw up the ambition of scaling our social impact. Now comes the time to deliver, as new houses are a reality and new countries are being added to the map. With the title “Growing Together” and official launch at the Annual General Meeting in March 2019, the new strategy will develop the necessary organizational infrastructure to enable us to deliver impact at a greater scale in the same high quality we’ve gotten used to.

2018 saw the much-anticipated opening of GAME House Aalborg and GAME House Viborg – the two latest indoor street sports facilities in Denmark. Both facilities are off to a good start and GAME House Viborg has been nominated for the prestigious European Architecture Award, Mies van der Rohe Award, and named Top 10 new Sports Center of the year by Dezeen magazine. New partnerships with a sound combination of private, philanthropic and public sector partners have also been launched to innovate the impact delivery.

What about the sustainability?

During the year we have also looked the sustainability of GAME’s impact deep in the eyes. Let me give you an example: In Denmark we have for three years tested an unbureaucratic method of shifting money from desks to the streets with microgrants for street sport communities across the country. It has sparked a remarkable number of innovative street sports projects and invited more childen and youth into sports communities with an impressive attendance of 111,303 in 2018”. But the question is: what happens to the ongoing activities when the money is spent? Getting the local authorities onboard for the long-term is increasingly important in the years to come if the impact is to be sustained. And maybe this doesn’t have to result in a GAME House every time.

Start up in Jordan and Somaliland

In the first months of the year and with support from the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, GAME in close collaboration with local partners has launched activities in Jordan and Somaliland. Like GAME’s other Playmakers, the Playmakers in Jordan and Somaliland have been trained and are now equipped to take leadership, resolve conflicts, strengthen gender equity and provide communities with street sports activities for the local children.
In Jordan, the first season brought over 10,000 attendances in five GAME Zones. In Somaliland involving girls – both as Playmakers and in the weekly sports sessions – was a remarkable success. The past year has also brought attention to the importance of selecting the right partner. Making sure the partner has the right capabilities and values will be something we strive to become better at going forward.

GAME in numbers

On the financial side the rapid growth we have experienced in the previous years has paused and we see a 1% decrease making the total revenue across countries 4.0 million EUR (2017: 4.1 million EUR). The surplus decreased to 13,929 EUR (2017: 97,356 EUR), equivalent to 0.3 % of revenue. In spite of the financial stagnation, we increased efficiency and sat two new records out on the asphalt. The number of individuals participating directly in GAME’s activities went above 20,000 and the collective attendance landed at 205,098 with an additional 111,303 showups at initiatives supported by the Danish Platform for Street Sports. And on the list of the world’s best NGOs, GAME improved its position for the fourth year in a row and is now placed as 141 (2017: 179).

All this combined make us well-prepared for the planned start-up in Lithuania, Malta, Greece, Italy, and Ghana in 2019.

Thank you!

On behalf of GAME, I would like to thank our many Playmakers, volunteers, 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 hard work is of great inspiration.

Anders Rendtorff, Chairman of GAME