Establishing links with governments
Who are the favoured partners?
The ministries in charge of education, health, youth and sport must be involved in the programme as a priority. It should be noted that the portfolios of ministries and other government departments are allocated in different ways in different countries: the ministries to be contacted are thus given by way of example only.
This ministry manages the majority of educational establishments in the country, drawing up educational programmes and delivering educational resources. The advantages of acting through this network of schools can be identified as follows:
- Access to all schools in the country, including those located in the least accessible regions, rural areas or on remote islands.
- The benefit of the existing educational network, in particular for communication with schools: the organisation of matches and training, the distribution of equipment, activity reports, etc.
- The potential involvement of teachers – whether qualified in sports or not – for the delivery of sports content. High-quality cooperation can be established, including training school teachers and involving them in competitions between schools and in regional football leagues.
- Relations with clubs, guiding those school children interested in more regular practice towards local clubs, and having club coach-educators participate in school activities.
It is important to establish a relationship with this ministry, particularly in countries in development where the practice of the sport is not always consistent or properly framed. The economic situation sometimes hinders access to structures (even at the most basic level) and especially the purchase of sports equipment, most notably footballs.
NB: In some countries, not all the schools are managed by the ministry. This is particularly the case for religious communities and international schools financed from abroad. It is important that grassroots football programmes avoid segregation and integrate these schools.
The relationship with this ministry is equally important, in particular with regard to:
- Sports structures: access to, and the maintenance of, these structures is essential, for matches between schools or for establishments that do not have their own practice facilities.
- Making coach-educators available to teach youth workers and schoolteachers, and for the supervision of football programmes: training, matches, etc.
It is important to instil healthy attitudes in children, and grassroots football programmes are an excellent way of getting the message across on health and sports, for example:
- Refraining from taking illegal or harmful substances
- Good nutrition and hygienic, healthy behaviour
The ministry may also provide more direct assistance, for example:
- Medical support provided by nurses, trainers or doctors during sports gatherings
- Making doctors available to provide medical check-ups for the children
- Supplying medicine or first-aid kits to certain schools or for matches between educational establishments
Other governmental bodies
Other governmental bodies may be involved in implementing the programme. For example:
- Regions and towns: integrating the programme into regional and community activities, etc.
- Environmental agencies: associating football programmes with a respect for nature, the protection of sources of drinking water, the management of waste, etc.
- Women’s organisations: participation and the fight against sexual discrimination through mixed teams, encouraging girls to play football, etc.