The International Organization for Migration (IOM), SEED Project, the European Union Delegation and Government of Mali officially launched the PLAYGROUND X RISE project, a youth engagement initiative that harnesses the educational power of sport to teach life skills and self-esteem, in Bamako on Thursday 27 October 2022.
The PLAYGROUND X RISE project aims to provide youth in high schools and colleges with sports facilities and capacity building in basketball, complemented by training sessions about life skills, leadership and migration. In Mali, the project is taking shape through the renovation of two basketball grounds located at the Lycée public de Niamakoro and Lycée Ibrahima Ly in Bamako. These facilities will host basketball training sessions and teach key values related to personal development and migration, namely respect, resilience, and open-mindedness, up to 18 December 2022.
“Designed to give junior and high school students in Mali access to quality sports facilities, play basketball in better conditions and acquire new skills, the PLAYGROUND X RISE project aims to contribute to the strengthening of young people’s resilience and give them the means to create alternatives to irregular migration,” said Pascal REYNTJENS, IOM Chief of Mission in Mali.
The project is part of the EU-IOM Joint Initiative for Migrant Protection and Reintegration. In addition to the renovation of two basketball grounds, 100 high school students aged 15 to 19 were selected from five schools in Bamako to take part in capacity building, coaching and awareness-raising activities.
Mr Bart OUVRY, Ambassador of the European Union to Mali, highlighted the multidimensional nature of the project. “We are supporting Malian youth, not only to acquire new skills, but also to benefit from the experience of trainers, community leaders and returnees,” he said.
“This programme aims to provide young people with training in life skills and values through basketball while raising awareness about regular and irregular migration, a major challenge in our region,” added Mr Joseph LOPEZ, President of the SEED Project, IOM’s partner in this project, which has already been implemented in Ghana and Senegal.
On behalf of the Minister of Education, Mr Mahamadou NIARE, Director of Pedagogy, highlighted the merits of PLAYGROUND X RISE in Mali’s high schools.