Case study: Football: Power for youth
The ‘four Cs’ – COVID, climate, conflict and cost-of-living – greatly tested small businesses around the world and set back the Sustainable Development Goals. This case study, from the ITC Annual Report 2022, highlights how the International Trade Centre helped entrepreneurs find new ways to prosperity through trade.
When ITC’s Youth and Trade programme sought to tackle irregular migration in Guinea and the Gambia back in 2018 through a project funded by the EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa, the team faced a fundamental challenge: although there were job opportunities in the local mining and fishing industries, concepts such as entrepreneurship, business plans and access to finance were not part of the young entrepreneurs’ language. Internet access was spotty and there was a need to deliver on skills such as communication, teamwork, presentation or writing a resume while connecting better with beneficiaries.
When connecting with employers, local authorities or financial service providers, the Youth and Trade team heard that youth needed employable life skills as well as core knowledge to kick-start their businesses. This is when the UEFA Foundation stepped in.
After signing a memorandum of understanding in 2019, ITC and the UEFA Foundation were ready to create the Kick for Trade curriculum, which uses sport as a tool for development. Kick for Trade trains coaches in the methodology of life skills for employability and entrepreneurship. The curriculum includes topics such as resilience, self-confidence, communication, adaptability or teamwork.
Each life skill module has 11 sessions, focusing on skills that will help young people develop attributes to gain and remain in employment and/or to pursue their personal ventures. The partnership benefited from UEFA gear, a network of experts and the involvement of local authorities.
Five hundred youths in Guinea and the Gambia received valuable life skills for the labour market. Building on this success, the UEFA Foundation and ITC decided to scale their partnership through an ITC project in Iraq called Strengthening the Agriculture and Agri-food Value Chain and Improving Trade Policy (SAAVI). This new collaboration has improved the life skills of 637 young entrepreneurs from a gender-balanced group working in agriculture in Baghdad and Basra governorates.
By training 10 coaches through Kick for Trade to mentor 200 youth in Baghdad and 20 coaches for 400 youths in Basra, the young participants have developed invaluable skills for their professional development, learning innovative ways to overcome challenges and adapt as entrepreneurs. With the support of Iraq’s Ministry of Youth and Sports, the project demonstrates how youth can develop personal and business skills through sports. ITC has since built the capacity of 15 local institutions to implement the Kick for Trade curriculum for youth agripreneurs in Iraq.
Just like in football, this collaboration has shown the importance of working as a team. Through the partnership with the UEFA Foundation, sports has shown itself to be a powerful force for youth empowerment in Africa and the Middle East. The project’s overall goal is to scale the support to other young entrepreneurs worldwide along with also considering sport as an economic sector. This will be further enabled through complementary activities such as job fairs to facilitate the matching of employers/investors with young employees/entrepreneurs invigorated by their newly acquired skills.