Cross Cultures: A Sustainable Model for Local Communities

Cross Cultures Project Association (CCPA) is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting peace, social cohesion, and gender equality through the medium of fun sports. Founded in Denmark, CCPA’s mission is to bring people together across ethnic, social, and religious divides by using sports as a tool for social improvement and peaceful coexistence.

The Sustainable Impact of Open Fun Football Schools

One of the core activities of Cross Cultures is the Open Fun Football Schools (OFFS) program. This initiative is designed to mobilize local communities by training young volunteers to become coaches and community organizers. These schools serve as a platform where children from different backgrounds can play together, fostering communication and cooperation. The program’s effectiveness is highlighted by its implementation in 23 countries, benefiting over 1.8 million individuals and engaging more than 108.000 volunteers since its inception in 1998.

The sustainability of Cross Cultures’ model lies in its community-based approach. By training local youths to become coaches, the program ensures that the skills and knowledge gained are retained within the community. These young coaches are equipped to continue organizing and leading activities independently.

The Sustainable Impact of Open Fun Football Schools

At the heart of Cross Cultures’ sustainability strategy is the “Children’s Grassroots Football Universe” model. This model places the child at the center of a universe of stakeholders, each playing a vital role in the child’s development and the program’s success.

In this model, the child is surrounded by footballs representing various stakeholders, much like planets orbiting the sun. The stakeholders are divided into three concentric galaxies, each representing different levels of involvement and influence:

  • First Galaxy (Closest to the Child):

    • Coach: Directly engages with the children, providing training and mentorship.
    • Football Club: Offers a structured environment for practice and play.
    • School: Integrates sports into the educational curriculum, promoting physical activity.
    • Parents: Support and encourage children’s participation and development.
  • Second Galaxy:

    • Local Donors: Provide financial support to sustain the programs.
    • Local Media: Raises awareness and promotes community involvement.
    • Local Partners: Collaborate on events and initiatives to enhance program reach.
    • Municipality: Offers logistical support and facilities for activities.
  • Third Galaxy:

    • Ministry of Youth and Sport: Provides policy support and resources.
    • National Football Association: Ensures the program aligns with national sports objectives.
    • International Partners: Offer global perspectives and additional funding.
    • Regional Football Association: Supports regional implementation and coordination.

By involving all these stakeholders, Cross Cultures ensures that the program is not only community-driven but also supported at multiple levels, creating a robust and sustainable platform for the children’s development.

Abdul Sule's Testimony from Nigeria

Abdul Sule, a country leader of Cross Cultures in Nigeria, provides a compelling testament to the program’s impact. He highlights how the national coaching seminar and the distribution of football equipment have catalyzed local training initiatives. In Kano State, for instance, training sessions are now held weekly in four different zones, led by coaches who attended the seminar. This grassroots activation underscores the program’s capacity to inspire local leadership and community engagement.

A Model for Social Change

Cross Cultures’ sustainable model is further supported by its comprehensive approach to youth leadership and community engagement. The Youth Leadership Education program trains individuals aged 18-25, focusing on developing their skills as community organizers through an action-learning process. This ensures that the trained individuals are not just passive recipients of knowledge but active participants in their communities’ social and developmental processes.

Additionally, the integration of local partnerships and collaboration with national authorities helps in embedding the program within the local socio-political context. This strategic alignment with local needs and structures enhances the program’s relevance and effectiveness, making it a robust model for driving social change.

In summary, Cross Cultures’ sustainable model through the Open Fun Football Schools and youth leadership programs not only fosters social cohesion and peace but also empowers local communities to sustain these initiatives independently. This grassroots approach ensures that the impact of the program is both deep and lasting, providing a blueprint for similar initiatives worldwide.