796 benefit from 'A Ganar' project using sports
As many as 796 'at risk' Jamaicans, 16-24 years, have benefited from the 'A Ganar' project that uses team sports such as football and cricket and others to teach various skills to help them find jobs, learn entrepreneurial skills, or re-enter the formal education system.
The Partners of the Americas project was executed in four phases, with the first phase designed to translate sports skills to skills for employment using a sports-based methodology that emphasises the six core skills of teamwork, communication, discipline, respect, a focus on results, and continual self-improvement.
A Ganar started in Jamaica in 2009. It is funded by the Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF) of the Inter-American Development Bank, USAID, NCB Foundation, and the Jamaica Social Investment Fund. More than 14,000 youth have been trained in 15 countries in South America, Central America, and the Caribbean.
Jamaica is recognised as the pioneering country for infusing cricket-based activities in the existing A Ganar curriculum.
The Jamaica Cricket Association executed the cricket aspect while Whole Life Ministries conducted the football aspect. Some were done through various community groups in eight parishes, including Kingston, St Andrew, St Catherine, St Elizabeth, and St James.
AndrÈ Virtue of Whole Life Ministries, who was responsible for executing the programme using football, gave his full endorsement.
"Youth loves sports, and sometimes when they just come to participate, they don't know there are life lessons that can be taught through the sport, so things like conflict resolution, things like teamwork and working together, communication, we take for granted, but we use games within the sport to teach these lessons, build friendships, and more importantly, help them to believe in themselves. So it was just an opportunity for us at Whole Life Sports to play our part. We are about transformation in our country, and we see sport as one of those important tools that can aid in the transformation," Virtue said.
AndrÈ Wilson of Youth For Development Network - the local implementing arm that had overall responsibility for the project - said that it was a true team effort from different partners that came together to made the project successful.
"We were able to reach and supersede our target. We have persons who graduated from the programme, and they are now entrepreneurs, persons who have found jobs, and persons who returned to school," Wilson said.