A Ganar, a multinational youth workforce development project that infuses team sports, held its Regional Workshop in Santo Domingo, for implementing partners across Latin America and the Carribean. The four-day workshop, which commenced on February 23, 2015, was held in the heart of the Colonial Zone, the city's historical center.
Entrena, which serves as A Ganar’s liaison organization for the Domincan Republic, served as the official host and conference organizer. The purpose of the event was to share insights, best practices and provide training to Country and Regional Coordinators. Some countries that were represented at the conference included Jamaica, Hondurus, Guatemala, Dominica and Suriname. As the liaison organization, Entrena facilitates capacity building, training and communication for all implementing partners in the Dominican Republic.
In these countries, Sport for Development, an emerging discipline in international development, has caught on rapidly. While sports is oftentimes looked upon just for recreational activity, in places where youth feel they have no options, especially in third world countries-it saves lives. Just look to A Ganar’s Facebook page, where a young Latina girl in a barrio is shown with the quote “Soccer Saved My Life.”
Why Sport for Development?
Sports is still one of the most effective ways to reach kids and to motivate them to succeed academically and socially. For many disadvantage youth who feel they have no options and limited futures, they find their way through sport-for-development programs like A Ganar. It goes beyond the typical basketball or soccer clinic with a celebrity figure, but incorporates well-researched methodology that focuses on life skills, emotional support, personal security, health-and most importantly-vocational skills.
The goal of the A Ganar, which means To Win, is to get youth employed by giving formal training in a career, but before that, life skills need to be gained. Positive values are enforced through sports such as baseball, soccer, basketball and volleyball. Concurrently youth receive technical training-the key component of the program.
The natural way that the message is delivered to the students is nothing short of amazing, as practitioners use sports as a way to teach deep messages and life skills. Program participants have oftentimes share personal stories that they haven’t shared with any adults. One graduated stated, “I thought I was nothing, I thought I had no chances, and with this career I now have money. I have a place in society. I can speak with confidence.”
Entrena values our long-lasting partnership with A Ganar, it’s parent organization, Partners of America, and USAID, the program funder.