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    Influencing Policy. Raising Aspirations. Exploring the impact of the Street Child World Cup on the young people who participate, their communities and the organisations that support them

    Corcoran, Su ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-3513-2770, Oldfield, Jeremy ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-7518-118X and Bloom, Alice (2020) Influencing Policy. Raising Aspirations. Exploring the impact of the Street Child World Cup on the young people who participate, their communities and the organisations that support them. Research Report. Manchester Metropolitan University.

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    The Street Child World Cup (SCWC) aims to use the power of football and the arts to raise awareness of and tackle the widespread stigma faced by street-connected children globally. Through the tournament, an arts festival and the General Assembly, Street Child United (SCU) use each event to amplify the voices of these children in a bid to change how they are positioned and supported in society. As the fourth SCU event to be held since 2010, the 2018 SCWC provided an opportunity to reflect upon the challenges and opportunities that have arisen in relation to previous events as well as to focus on the event in Moscow as it unfolded. This independent research study, therefore, aimed to understand the impact of participating in a SCWC on the players, their communities and the organisations that support them. Data was generated through questionnaires distributed to Team Leaders before the event in Moscow, face-to-face interviews with Team Leaders, players and Youth Leaders at the event, and face-to-face or WhatsApp interviews with players and Team Leaders in the 18 months after the event. The findings indicate the importance of effective structures to create the foundation for meaningful participation and to ensure that being part of the SCWC is mostly a positive experience for the organisations who register to bring teams to the event and for the teams themselves. In particular, these structures relate to the development of programmes to prepare the teams for travelling to the event and supporting them when they return, as well as for advocacy strategies that lead to sustainable, long-term change. Key Findings Participating in a SCU event can be a confidence-building experience for the players. They are able to feel proud of being selected to represent their country, interact with and learn from children in similar situations to them but from other countries, and become motivated to complete their education and/or think about their future differently. A number of the organisations who register to participate in a SCU event integrate the opportunity into a wider programme focused on developing strong role models - either to provide peer support for other children or as a spokesperson within a larger advocacy programme. As such participating in a SCU event can provide positive benefits to the wider community by raising their aspirations also. Impact was greater, and generally more positive, when effective frameworks of support were in place. For example, the development of comprehensive programmes of preparation that: managed the expectations of players, parents and the wider community; developed integrated programmes of training to help the players to play together as a team; delivered child rights education to prepare them for the Congress; and focused on what was expected of the players (and the challenges they would face) when they returned home. Impact was also greater when these frameworks continued after the event, supporting the players with the emotional upheaval of returning to ‘normal’ life after being the centre of attention for 12 days. Good practice described by the Team Leaders include the provision of counselling, especially from a qualified counsellor, and/or at the very least a space in which the players are able to share their experiences and reconnect with other players who had been at the SCWC. As suggested by such frameworks, getting players to the event involves a great deal of work that can take the staff at the organisations fielding the teams away from their usual day-to-day work. In smaller organisations with less human resource capacity, other programmes of intervention can be affected as staff focus on getting everything in place to travel to the SCWC. The additional work includes, but is not limited to, fundraising to take the team to the event, selecting and training the team, applying for birth certificates, passports and other legal documents to take the children out of the country and the related tasks of finding and negotiating with potentially absent parents during the process. Most Team Leaders reported limited financial benefits to their organisations from their participation in the event but they all reported a degree of success in meeting advocacy goals. In general, larger organisations, or those who had participated for a number of SCU events and had spent years developing their approaches to both supporting the players and integrating the SCWC into their long-term advocacy strategy, were more able to engage with the media and negotiate the inclusion of their particular advocacy messages in the stories presented. In addition, the higher up the tournament leader board a team managed to reach, the greater the media coverage they attracted. This raises important questions about the support structures that could be put in place to both address the impact on workload and leverage greater impact from the event. The Congress, which provides a space in which the players share their stories and develop messages to disseminate on an international stage at the General Assembly, was described positively by most Team Leaders interviewed as the focus on the event. The players develop the confidence to reflect upon the challenges they faced – especially in relation to the problems faced by other teams – and to visualise solutions to these problems and a focus on the future. The messages the players develop for the General Assembly are rooted in the experiences they share and are therefore inextricably part of who they are. When these messages translate into limited tangible impact, which is to be expected given the nature of the event and the timescales over which transformative change takes place in practice, the players can be left disappointed after the hype of speaking in front of ‘the world’. Team Leaders who managed players expectations, by helping them to understand the degree to which delivering their messages leads to change as part of a long-term process that could take ears, reported greater levels of impact and confidence building for the players. These Team Leaders described follow-on programmes of advocacy and support that aimed to build on and develop the sustainability of these messages – involving the players in advocacy strategies and encouraging them to be role models for other street-connected children. Finally, SCU value long-term partnerships with the organisations who register to participate: developing an international network that can offer guidance and support to each other in their work. The networks developed between organisations was discussed positively in terms of providing supportive spaces where Team Leaders and other staff members could learn from each other. However, the ability of this network to deliver a stronger, collaborative, advocacy message was not discussed in positive terms and there were Team Leaders who wanted the network to be developed towards greater impact through a long-term focus on why children are on the street rather than just the event itself.

    Impact and Reach


    Activity Overview
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    6 month trend

    Additional statistics for this dataset are available via IRStats2.

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