In recent years, there has been an alarming increase in social divides, racist hate crimes and political polarisation within Europe. Poverty, social exclusion and a lack of opportunities provide ripe ground for intolerance and prejudice to fester. Young people are particularly at risk of both experiencing discrimination and finding solace in extremism in the face of dire future perspectives.

 

DIALECT was initiated in January 2020 to tackle these challenges by bringing together young people in Hungary, Greece, Serbia and Italy – four of the worst affected countries in Europe – to foster positive dialogue, build communities of tolerance and promote the values of acceptance and solidarity.

 

A social space where community and identity construction takes place and is of significance for young people is the football pitch. Beyond its appeal as an enjoyable activity, the sport is an effective tool for creating collective identities, promoting a sense of belonging and imparting values. To channel the power of football in such a positive direction, DIALECT will capitalise upon and further develop the tested football3 methodology to promote positive interaction between socially and culturally diverse groups of young people. football3 is a different way to play the beautiful game, where players gather in culturally, gender-mixed teams, agree on rules together and play without referees but with mediators facilitating the matches.

 

streetfootballworld has teamed up with ActionAid Hellas along with the National Centre for Social Research EKKE (Greece), ActionAid Italy, Oltalom Sport Association (Hungary), Football Friends (Serbia), and Melissa Network (Greece) to implement the two-year project with funding from the European Union.

 

Together, the project partners will develop an Action Plan to promote community building through football that counters polarisation. Capacity building sessions will equip a network of change agents with the tools to create change in their local communities. Through football sessions, they will further spread messages of active citizenship and equality to young people between the ages of 12 and 18, enabling them to make informed decisions, question stereotypical thinking and resolve conflicts.  

 
 
 

This project was funded by the European Union’s Rights, Equality and Citizenship Programme (2014-2020)

 

 

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