August 2015 Newsletter
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Registration for the 15th annual Global Peace Games for Children and Youth (the GPG) is underway. PSNI is proud that this is the 15th consecutive year the GPG will be held and aims to increase participation. Last year thousands participated from 35 countries across 6 continents to show the solidarity of the global community that is committed to playing and working together to build peace, create health and provide education for all. In 2015 as in past years, special messages from the United Nations Office on Sport for Development and Peace and from Football for Hope/FIFA will be provided to registrants. Participants have the opportunity to sign the Manifesto for Peace, created by Nobel Peace Laureates for UNESCO, and PSNI will send Certificates of Participation along with a summary report after the GPG are completed. Full registration information is available on the PSNI website, or through the platform which featured the GPG in its current Newsletter.
PSNI AWARDED $32,040 Grant for Trenton NEW JERSEY USA
The new Play for fun, Learn for Life program that opened in early 2015 in the City of Trenton has been awarded a community development grant through the city’s Department of Housing and Economic Development. PSNI began collaborating in January with four community based organizations to offer its core program after school, and during the summer months added free recreational programs in two Trenton parks. In the fall, PSNI has received approval to begin working with the Trenton public schools to further expand the program. The PSNI initiative aims to work closely with the many organizations involved in the City’s Community Health Improvement Plan. This plan to create a broad culture of health for the City, identified priority areas to address Trenton’s health challenges. These include health literacy and disparities, safety and crime, obesity and healthy lifestyles, substance abuse and behavioural health, and chronic disease, such as diabetes, hypertension and cancer.
Please check out PLAY SOCCER Nonprofit International Facebook page for further photos and updates.
RESEARCH PROJECT: Princeton University, University of Witwatersrand and Rabin Martin in the USA and South Africa
An exciting summer activity has been the start-up of the PSNI research project with Princeton University/Center for Health and Wellbeing; Rabin Martin, the global health strategy firm in the USA, and the University of Witswatersrand (WITS) Medical School in Johannesburg South Africa. PSNI has been fortunate to have project support and human resources through two teams of university students who have an interest in global health--one team in the USA and the other in South Africa. Phase I of this collaborative project involves parallel activities at two core program sites: Trenton. New Jersey, the site of the new PSNI USA program, and Tembisa, South Africa, a site of the ongoing South Africa Play for Fun, Learn for Life organization. During Phase I this summer, the research will design a framework that can be used to evaluate the public health outcomes achieved through the Play for Fun, Learn for Life core program. This framework will be used to assess program impact as a broadly defined public health intervention for individuals and communities. The actual evaluation will be done in subsequent phases of the project.
The two teams are coordinating their research and focusing on identifying/defining intended health outcomes in each community. Guided by the Community Health Needs Assessment, an extensive health study that was recently completed in Trenton, the Trenton team has been developing links with the Trenton Community Health Plan, and other participants such as the New Jersey Partnership for Healthy Kids, to insure program inputs synchronize with the health outcomes that the Trenton community has prioritized. In Tembisa, though there were no community health studies, the South Africa team is fortunate to work with the WITS project, Developmental Pathways for Health Research that is situated in the Department of Pediatrics in the WITS School of Clinical Medicine. DPHRU investigates various determinants of development and health through multi-disciplinary methodologies across the lifespan. It has carried out extensive research on adolescent health in Soweto as well as elsewhere in Africa.
The South Africa team with the South Africa program director
The Trenton team, Sam, Ajami, and Walter
Both teams have been gaining first- hand field experience in the PSNI core program curriculum and activities by participating as volunteer instructors in the program sessions. In Tembisa, the program serves approximately 150 children at twice weekly sessions at the pitch of the local elementary school.
In Trenton, the summer program for children ran four days each week at several city sites—and served approximately 100 children at three different locations. See more photos on the PLAY SOCCER Facebook page.
PLAY SOCCER Appalachia will open its 2015 program in August at the start of the new school year at the Trimble elementary school in Glouster, Ohio. PSNI is excited to introduce Katelyn Tondo-Steele as the new Program Director. Katelyn is a fourth year medical student at Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine and is pursuing a career in obstetrics and gynecology. She is originally from Youngstown, OH and played soccer during her undergraduate college studies. Katelyn has received funding from the Rural and Urban Scholars Program that will also support her activities for PLAY SOCCER Appalachia. This program is designed to provide students with more education and greater resources to care for underserved populations.
PLAY SOCCER Malawi received a grant in May from UNAIDS to further HIV/AIDS prevention. The “Protect the Goal” program has embarked on a campaign, partnering with other youth organizations, in an outreach to the Blantyre community to provide testing, counselling and education.

PLAY SOCCER Cameroon continues to work to rebuild its organizational presence in Cameroon under the wing of United Action for Children. UAC has helped to “incubate” two new program sites--one at the UAC Besongabank FIFA Football for Hope Centre at Buea and the other at Mamfe.

In Senegal, PSNI is delighted to announce that Ms Maie Ayoub, a retired UNICEF Country Representative and former colleague of Judy McPherson has volunteered to assist in the rebuilding of the PLAY SOCCER Senegal organization. The organization, which has been inactive for two years, requires an update of its legal status and the recruitment of a new board of Directors to provide the proper governance structure for the program. In addition to her fluent French, Maie’s expertise and experience will be invaluable. She has managed and supported UNICEF programs in eastern Europe, north and west Africa, worked on global communication campaigns and on movements for children’s and women’s rights. She has continued after her UNICEF retirement to be active as a consultant and to train country teams around the world. PSNI expects the rebuilding of PLAY SOCCER Senegal to be a challenging process over the next year.
PSNI is proud that it is contributing to the growth of young leaders in the field of development through sport. Throughout the PSNI Network, new youth leaders are emerging through their participation in the Play for Fun, Learn for Life program. Last April, Mary Dzakah from the Tamale site of Play Soccer Ghana was selected to participate in the leadership camp in Germany held by the United Nations Office of Sport for Development. Now, for the next UNOSDP training camp in Sweden, two more female youth have been selected to attend. Fortunate “Smiley” Chego from the Tembisa site of Play for fun, Learn for Life South Africa and Gertrude Amoah, from Play Soccer Ghana Cape Coast site will travel in September to further their skills. Both young women have been volunteer instructors for the core program and are outstanding examples of female leadership.
In addition, Wahab Mushah who has been Program Director for PLAY SOCCER Ghana has been awarded a fellowship in Japan to further his leadership credentials. Wahab made an outstanding contribution to Play Soccer Ghana and its Oguaa Football for Hope Centre and as a mentor to other PSNI Network organizations. For his fellowship, Wahab will specialize in sport for development and prepare a research paper on “The Contribution of Sport to the Achievement of the Millennium Development Goals in Ghana.” He was selected for the fellowship through a very vigorous selection process and chosen out of many international applicants. Wahab will study at the Tsukuba International Academy for Sport Studies (TIAS), Japan’s foremost sports education centre that enjoys the full backing of the Japanese government. TIAS is a key part of the government’s “sport for tomorrow” initiative for the promotion of sports and the Olympic movement. The Chairman of TIAS, making the announcement at an international sports convention in Geneva, Switzerland, said “We seek new leaders who can lead tomorrow’s sporting world. This requires not just specialist abilities but a sense of mission and a deep understanding regarding the future of sport.” The Play Soccer Ghana Board of Directors will conduct a search for Wahab’s replacement. In the interim, Ellis Quarshie, a new Ghana Board member, with the continuing support of Program Manager Faisal Marafa will manage Play Soccer Ghana and Centre operations.
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