Online Digital Database – Resource2022-04-07T11:55:57+02:00
Barça Foundation FutbolNet program: Sports, Life Skills and Values for Unaccompanied Minors in Sicily, Italy


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.

  • Good Practices
  • Country of origin / implementation:
  • Italy
  • Language:
  • English
  • Italian
  • Compliance with the Dashboard Outcomes:
    • Children maintain their cultural identity while adopting new cultural values and intercultural competences
    • Children's life satisfaction / happiness
    • Children's sense of belonging
    • Friends and peers (bridges)
    • Friends and peers (support)

    Evaluation ex post
    Two external evaluations have been conducted on the program which highlight wide-ranging positive impacts. Firstly, the program creates safe spaces with structured activities that enable youth to be free from tension, discrimination, and aggression. The program tangibly improves life skills, self-esteem, and self-confidence, as well as help youth to better express their thoughts and feelings. It also fosters positive and significant friendships and an increased feeling of belonging to a group. Involving Italian youth alongside unaccompanied minors is crucial in connecting unaccompanied minors to the local community and an improved feeling of being welcomed and participating in community activities.

    Projects’ deliverables
    Create youth-friendly spaces; Improve physical and emotional wellbeing; Promote intergration between unaccompanied minors and Italian youth.

    The same project has been implemented in Greece and Lebanon.

    Motivation for the submission
    The Barça Foundation FutbolNet program is a good practice in using sport to foster social integration of refugee and migrant unaccompanied minors in Sicily, Italy.

  • EU Funds
  • Foundations
  • Type of action:
  • Extra-curricular activity
  • Target:
  • Unaccompanied and separated children
  • Professionals involved:
  • Cultural Mediators
  • Educators
  • Networking - Actors and institutions mobilized by the project:
  • Government
  • NGOs, third sector organizations
  • Additional comments

    Please contact Lucy Mills for more information if required:

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