INSPIRES will create a new network linking female refugees with football actors and CSOs willing/able to act as organisers, contributors and leaders in integration and social inclusion of refugees in EU.
According to UNHCR, for the first time ever, the number of displaced people reached 70.8 million at the end of 2018 due to persecution, conflict, violence, or human rights violations. Less than 3% of the refugee population returned to their country of origin, which means that more efforts must be made to improve the integration of refugees in the host communities.
Many EU countries have placed an emphasis on solving the Refugee crisis but are facing challenges like poverty, social exclusion and marginalisation, due to stereotypes, racism and xenophobia in host countries. Refugee integration is threatened by the dilemma of personal trauma, deteriorating physical and mental health, a lack of social support for refugees, against the lack of understanding and inability for many reasons – political, social and economic – to intervene effectively. Although the potential of sport as a tool for social inclusion and integration has been widely tested and acknowledged in many countries, access to sports facilities is limited.
Local sports organisations struggle to adapt existing activities and facilities and to create suitable engagement programmes due to a lack of knowledge of refugee needs and expectations. That is why we thought of a project called INSPIRES (INtegration through SPort and Inclusion for Refugees in Europe for Sustainability), built on data collected during the 2018 INSPIRE and 2019 INSPIRE4ALL projects. The needs underlined by the coaches and sport organisations in the countries involved (Netherlands, Italy, Germany, Finland and Greece) referred to the need for knowledge on how to adapt existing activities and needs in host countries or how to create suitable engagement programmes that respond to the needs and expectations of refugees.
The general objective of INSPIRES is to equip refugees, key actors in football (coaches, referees, administrators in clubs and other spheres), and CSOs with the skills and knowledge required to support the integration and social inclusion of female refugees in the EU. To achieve the general objective the project develops on 3 specific objectives:
1. The female refugees will be better equipped with skills and knowledge to achieve personal development, increase their participation in designing sports and volunteering activities
2. Increase the number of trained Football actors that will support the integration and social inclusion of female refugees in the sector, and increase their knowledge on methods and tools for successful inclusion of refugees in local teams
3. Develop new capacity building approaches to support CSOs working with refugees: they will build new capacities to better use the societal potential of football to help integration and acceptance of female refugees in the host communities.
INSPIRES will create a new network linking female refugees with football actors and CSOs willing/able to act as organisers, contributors and leaders in integration and social inclusion of refugees in EU. It will develop, pilot and foster practical solutions to support actors in football and CSOs to be able to implement football projects and activities that develop a refined understanding of the challenges, and opportunities, that sport has in the integration of refugees, with a focus on female refugees. The project, through the organisation of local sport activities, national tournaments and by involving volunteer refugee women in the preparation phase, will promote and increase cooperation between refugees and host communities, the practice of sport activities and the benefits that arise among the refugees.
The project will further develop the existing Fare RefugeesandFootball website through an online platform and a web-app for actors and CSO’s working with refugees where they can share best practices, thus increasing the links between organisations promoting sport as a tool to integrate refugees. Good practices identified from the project will be shared through publications, seminar, webinars, and the capacity building and exchange platform, across the partners networks and at the EU level by the Fare network.
INSPIRES will run from Jan 2021 – Dec 2023, it is led by Fare network with five partners from Italy (Unione Italiana Sport Per tutti Aps – UISP and GEA – Societa’ Cooperativa Sociale), Germany (Champions ohne Grenzen e.V.), Finland (Monaliiku) and Greece (Organisation Earth), who have dedicated their efforts towards refugee integration and development of new working methods to respond to refugees needs.