Posted on January 29, 2019

The British Council, in partnership with the Qatar Ministry of Education, recently celebrated the completion of the first stage of its Youth Sports Leadership programme with two fun and engaging sports festivals attended by more than 50 students at Rufaidah bin Kaab independent School for Girls and 50 students at Ibn Khaldoun independent school for Boys.

The festival was the culmination of international training delivered by the UK’s Youth Sports Trust, designed to assist teachers and coaches to work together with young people so they can take charge and lead their own sports festivals in their schools and communities. Youth Sports Leadership is aligned with Qatar’s Vision 2030 increase community participation in sport. In March 2018, 88 sports coaches and teachers and 340 students across 88 schools in Qatar underwent sports education training which uses sports as a tool to teaching important soft skills.  This year the young sports leaders put what they had learned into action by organising sports festivals for the 11-12 year old students, with teachers interventions and support being limited to oversight and ensuring safety.

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Youth Sports Leadership is a three-year sports transformational education programme, which helps practitioners to develop key future skills such as leadership, teamwork, resilience and communication through sports. The training, which is delivered through a cascade model, supports ongoing sustainability of the programme and the development of young people involved into independent and responsible leaders who can become volunteers to #MakeSportHappen in their communities. Held in partnership with Youth Sports Trust International, an independent charity, the initiative helps build knowledge of sports education and inspires the next generation of leaders promoting accessible and inclusive sports.  In the longer term, the goals of phase two and three of the programme are to empower young people and the wider community to lead a more active lifestyle.

From 24-28 March 2019, a selection of coaches and teachers will have the opportunity to train for phase 2 of the programme, to ‘national trainer’ level, which certifies them to deliver the training in Arabic and English as independent instructors across Qatar, thereby cascading the benefits of sports to the wider community. Schools across Qatar will also have the opportunity to take part in the Youth Sports Awards training modules on 04 March 2019. These awards act as a reward and celebration scheme that helps young people to evidence their learning, progress and achievement in and through sport and physical activity. It also supports them to demonstrate the impact their involvement in sport has had on their personal development including leadership skills, health and wellbeing and wider life skills.

Commenting on the success of the programme, Moza Albader, Head of Physical Education Curriculum Standards Section, Qatar Ministry of Education and Higher Education said: “We are proud to partner with the British Council on this fantastic initiative which, not only improves sports education in Qatar, but also contributes to the country’s vision of building strong and active communities. Sport can play a fundamental and lasting role in transforming the lives of young people and, through Youth Sports Leadership, we are helping them become leaders of the future. Congratulations to all the participants and everyone who contributed to its success.”

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Samantha Ayton, Director at British Council Qatar said: “We are honoured to collaborate with the Qatar Ministry of Education and Training and Educational Development center to improve sports participation across the country. Together we have a shared goal to unleash the potential of students through physical activity in line with Vision 2030. Youth Sports Leadership is designed to be inclusive for all young people, regardless of ability, and maximises the power of sport to develop their life skills and improve their wellbeing. We are extremely proud to have completed another successful festival and witness the positive impact that the initiative is having on students and teachers across Qatar.”

Abdel Rahman Thani Eid Al Thani from Ibn Khaldoun independent school for Boys expressed his excitement about the festival: “I am proud to have been involved in the Youth Sports Leadership programme. It has been a lot of fun and I have also learned really valuable skills that I can use in my everyday life.” Youth Sports Leadership is one of several initiatives the British Council offers as part of its cultural relations work, which includes arts, education, science and sports projects that work with young people to help them develop the skills and behaviours they need to achieve their full potential.  

To find out more on the British Council’s exciting initiatives, follow @qabritishcouncil on Instagram and Twitter and @BritishCouncilQatar on Facebook.