Since 2017, UNHCR Italy and Barça Foundation have enjoyed a strategic collaboration to promote emotional and physical wellbeing and social inclusion of unaccompanied minors coming mainly from African countries, Bangladesh and Pakistan and residing in first and second reception centers in Sicily, Italy.
Barça Foundation trains educators and social workers of the social cooperatives, Prospettiva and Il Nodo in Catania, which host first and second reception centers and provide socio-educational and recreational services to unaccompanied refugee and migrant minors. Trainings are based on two sports-based socio-educational methodologies that transmit values, life skills, and employability skills (“FutbolNet” and “FutbolNet Employability”). The trained “coaches” then deliver the program on a weekly basis with groups of unaccompanied minors, often together with Italian youth to promote integration and friendships. The program has trained 90+ coaches and included 800+ unaccompanied minors to date.
For this program, UNHCR Italy initially liaised with Italian authorities and the reception centers. UNHCR Italy also provides ongoing advice to Barça Foundation to ensure that the program runs in line with UNHCR Italy recommended guidance, such as Listen & Learn: Participatory Assessment with Children and Adolescents.
The project is funded by Barça Foundation, UEFA Foundation and the EU.