Lattitude’s sports programme in Ghana works in partnership with the Oguaa Football For Hope Centre, using Football to re-engage young people in the Cape Coast community. The Football for Hope (FFH) movement builds on the historic hosting of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa and utilises this enormously popular sport to address education and health challenges in underserved communities across Africa.
Cape Coast is a city and fishing port in south Ghana. The main livelihood activities in Cape Coast are fishing, tourism, trading and agriculture, but due to a lack of industries creating job opportunities, unemployment rates are high. Furthermore, many children of school age do not attend school on a regular basis. Consequently, pupils who sit their exams often do not make the required grade to get into the senior high schools (some of the best schools in Ghana). As a result, most students who attend these schools come from outside of the Cape Coast area, whilst a lack of job opportunities and high levels of High School drop-out rates means that the majority of young people in the Cape Coast community are not in either school or work. A lack of opportunities present enormous challenges for young people aged 16 and above and it is common to see youths loitering on the beach and streets with nothing to occupy them. Cape Coast also has one of the highest teenage pregnancy rates in the country and single-parenting is regarded as a major factor in the continuing cycle of poverty.
How do Lattitude Volunteers help?
Lattitude’s partner organisation aims to tackle some of the issues facing the youth of Cape Coast by providing soccer-inspired programmes that empower children and youth to lead positive social change in their lives and communities. The Oguaa Football for Hope Centre is host to Play Soccer Ghana (PSG), a registered NGO which provides grassroots educational programmes that seek to promote development through sport. Play Soccer Ghana depends heavily on volunteer support for the delivery of its programmes and consequently Lattitude volunteers play a vital role in the Cape Coast initiative. In collaboration with centre staff, Lattitude volunteers help to run 5 interrelating programs throughout the course of the week:
Street League – a recreational football league that is targeted at young men and women aged 15-22 who are not in education, training or employment. Prior to playing a football match each week they engage in ICT and Life Skills sessions which aim to provide them with employability and social skills to help them back into school, training or work in the future.
“From Street League I have learned so many things. Before coming here I didn’t know anything about computers. Right now I know how to use a computer very well, how to type, how to print, but before I didn’t have any idea. And with the Life Skills too, I have learned a lot. Also I have learned football skills and understand the rules better.”
Patrick, aged 22, participant of the Street League programme.
Homework sessions – volunteers run homework sessions on the afternoons of Monday to Thursday for school children aged 4-15 in the local area. The children come to the centre after school for help with their homework and also to take part in lessons in subjects including English, Maths, Science, French, Religious and Moral Education, ICT and Social Studies. The session aims to provide them with extra support and assist them with their homework.
“Coming to the centre helped me get good grades in exams. I like coming here because the people who are here are very good and educated and they help me how to speak, read, write, respect, obey instruction, and play football. They have made me happy every day.”
Isaac, aged 14, participant of the homework session
Free Play – this program is an activity based session run on Friday afternoons. It is interrelated with the homework session as it works as a fun reward for the children who have attended during the week and is a chance for the children to participate in fun physical activities on the pitch
Core Programme – a Saturday morning session that aims to educate children through physical activity. Football and sport is used as a tool to educate children on health and social issues as well as life skills. Volunteers have the opportunity to take children through some sports drills and techniques whilst educating them on issues such as Malaria, HIV/AIDS and the importance of exercise etc.
Enhancement Program – this session runs after the core program whereby each week an age group is targeted to be given extra support in ICT and reading.
The work of Lattitude volunteers at the Oguaa Football For Hope Centre significantly benefits the Cape Coast community. Children and young people in the local area receive a greater knowledge about a variety of health and social topics, in addition to improving their ICT skills. The provision of opportunities for children and young people to take part in physical activity is beneficial for their health and some players have even been assigned to clubs! Providing activities such as the homework club also provides additional childcare for parents and relieves their workload. Importantly, the addition of Lattitude volunteers increases human resources for the centre and has meant that it has been able to expand its programmes.
“Lattitude have come to turn everything around, all the programmes have been a success. Staff and management have been very happy with the volunteers, and the children too benefit very much. Since Lattitude came we have seen a massive increase in the number of children coming each week to our homework sessions.”
Faisal, Programme manager of the centre
‘My placement at Cape Coast has definitely made me more confident, self-assured and much more willing to give something a go. It has taught me how to have real patience and accept how a different system works and to adjust to it.’
Past Lattitude Volunteer
Volunteers are constantly needed to deliver and expand the programmes run by Play Soccer Ghana. If you have an interest in sports, teaching or community work and want to make a difference by working in a friendly African community then why not apply to become a Lattitude volunteer on our Ghana programme!