The success of Sustainable Developmental Community Projects lies in empowering the youth with knowledge and skills to undertake the projects through active participation of the entire community. Projects find a life of their own once the youth hold themselves accountable and their community takes ownership, right from the beginning.

Our Game Changers pedagogy takes cognizance of this mantra for community development and is designed to focus on developing the personality traits of a successful community leader as well as introducing the participants to the concept of community development through football.

The final module of the Game Changers 2019 was organized from 22nd to 24th of November 2019 at Slum Soccer Academy Bokhara, Nagpur. Youth,  who had earlier been trained in the first and second modules held at Nagpur, Mumbai and Delhi during the year and belonging to Jammu and Kashmir, Haryana, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, West Bengal, Chhattisgarh, Bihar, Goa Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka came together to attend the final module.

The module aimed at reinforcing their earlier learnings, reviewing their success in implementing them, upgrading their life skills, and preparing them for a yearlong community development plan which was provided after the training. During the training, the participants were also apprised of the importance of inclusion by providing them with a sense of understanding about the Dos’ and Don’ts while engaging the Deaf participants.

The program began with an ice-breaking session which helped the participants to get introduced to each other and develop a camaraderie arising out of a common goal and purpose. This was followed by an orientation to the final module.

Our concept of ‘Football for Development’ was the core essence of the training with a focus on life skills such as communication, teamwork and problem-solving. The afternoon sessions focused on ‘risk-taking’; here they were made aware of the psychological aspects of risk-taking and the risk-reward trade-offs. Based on their own experiences the participants came up with some extraordinary ideas and action plans which were evaluated and modified slightly to ensure success. The day concluded with an on-field session focused on the Football for Development concept.

The second day began with an intense football session focusing on progression and regression.  Later, they practised these concepts with a group of children. In order to give them a sense of the nitty-gritty was involved in the implementation of the various skills and concepts they had learnt throughout the three modules of the Game Changers Programme, the participants were tasked to conducted  Football Festivals in 6 different communities where we operate in Nagpur. The key activity of the second day was working out session plans and organizational details for the Festivals.  We were happy and satisfied to observe, that they brought in to use the various ideas and concepts learnings during their planning exercise. Notably, they considered age appropriateness, SMILEs (Safety, Maximum Participation, Inclusive, Learning and Enjoyment) and STEPs (Space, Task, Equipment, People and Speed) concepts which ideally a coach should do to make his/her session more successful in children’s perspective

The final day belonged to conducting the Football Festivals which took place at different communities such as in Koradi, Kamptee, Godhani, Dipti Signal, Bokhara and Gumthala. The broad structure of the Festival consisted of successfully delivering a Warm-Up activity, a Fun Game, A Life Skill-based activity followed by a mini football tournament at the end. It was a novel experience for the children of our interventional communities to get coached by youth belonging to various parts of the country and they just couldn’t stop their inquisitiveness in getting to know about the cultural and traditional diversities from which the youth hailed. 

Zainab Khatri, a participant who graduated as a Game Changer by successfully completing all three modules expressed her deep sense of appreciation for the Football for Development concept, “I had no idea that football can also be played to approach and address social issues. I had only been playing football for fun and utilize children’s time in a productive manner but the training taught me the concept of development of football”

The Game Changer youth leadership program comprises of three modules designed by Slum Soccer and supported by Sony Pictures Networks India. During these three months, the participants will be introduced and taught about various aspects of a ‘professional career’. This includes exposure to aspects of external appearance and presentation, communication, social etiquettes along with specific skills such as creativity, problem-solving, decision-making and teamwork, which are crucial for a professional career.