GOALS creates opportunities for young girls in Armenia to participate in organized soccer. We provide the infrastructure, coaches, equipment and resources to create girls’ leagues in rural communities across the country. We currently have eight leagues in Syunik, Lori, Tavush, Vayots Dzor, Shirak, Gegharkunik and most recently in Kotayk regions. Often, there is no network or support for girls to participate in sports in Armenia and GOALS is working to bridge the gender gap! Each league has at least four teams and each team has 9-15 players. League seasons are March-May and September-November. Not only are we creating leagues, but we are changing mindsets, young and old, across the country. Encouragingly, we already see a remarkable change in the confidence of our players as well as a positive shift in parental approval of their daughters playing soccer. Now, when we visit our leagues we are finding stands full of boys cheering on girls!
Each summer GOALS holds at least three Soccer Leadership Summer Camps in Armenia. Since 2016 we have impacted 450 girls and 37 different rural communities. Each camp directly impacts around 40 girls, aged 13-16, which includes girls from the four surrounding communities. During the camps, participants learn technical football skills, engage in sport for social impact games, participate in leadership seminars, and play in competitive scrimmages. These camps focus on building confidence and leadership in the participants while also connecting participants to other active youth from neighbouring communities.
SPORT FOR SOCIAL IMPACT TRAININGS
GOALS is the only NGO in Armenia using sport for social impact (SSI) games to create social awareness and conversation around social issues such as human rights, equality, tolerance and discrimination, healthy living, and other relevant problems. Our trainings target youth workers in the regions of Armenia from all different backgrounds: teachers, NGO workers, community leaders, coaches, etc. We train these youth workers in self-directed learning methods and how to use our games to help their community. We often hold trainings with local partners and in other situations where we are requested. The aim of our trainings is to identify and prepare youth workers to hold After School Clubs in their communities, bringing sports for social impact games beyond the training.
AFTER SCHOOL CLUBS
Through our trainings, GOALS identifies active youth workers to serve as GOALS After-School Club (ASC) facilitators in their community. These clubs take place once a week for 3-months and focus on different social issues based on the needs of the community such as gender equality, conflict resolution, leadership, etc. During the club participants are given a safe space to voice their opinion, improve their confidence, and discuss issues important to their community and livelihoods. Through our co-ed clubs, girls are allowed to play soccer on an equal footing with boys while also creating room for discussion across gender. The aim of our clubs is to motivate youth to be change-agents, build confidence, teach empathy, and create the next generation of future Armenian (and beyond) leaders!