Sports for Sharing
This entry has been selected as a finalist in the
Activating Empathy: Transforming Schools To Teach What Matters competition.
This project also has a Changeshop where you can read more about its latest progress.
Go to Changeshop: Sports for Sharing .
Sports for Sharing: integrating civic education into children’s lives in a fun, meaningful way.
About Your Organization
United Nations Youth Association in Mexico
Mexico, DIF, Mexic City
Country where this project is creating social impact
Mexico, DIF, Mexico City
Is your organization a
Non‐profit / NGO / Citizen sector organization
Your role in Education
The type of school(s) your solution is affiliated with
How long has your organization been operating?
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Select the stage that best applies to your solution
Scaling (the next step will be growing impact on a regional or even global scale)
How long has your solution been in operation?
Operating for 1‐5 years
The Need: What problem are you trying to solve?
Sports for Sharing addresses diverse negative social symptoms that add up to a lack of social cohesion in Mexico. Mexicans are a culturally diverse people but ignorance limits cross-cultural integration. 9 out of 10 indigenous group members feel that their community is discriminated against. General distrust is high among Mexicans; only 2 out of 10 believe it is sensible to trust another. Violence also threatens Mexico, 16th among 115 nations in crime rates, a fact strongly manifested at the domestic level; 75% of juvenile delinquents are victims of family violence. All this calls for an out-of-the-box approach to civic education.
The Solution: What is your solution? Be specific!
Our solution is integrating civic education into children’s lives through games and sporting activities. Sports for Sharing is driven by three objectives: raising social awareness, heightening cultural appreciation and promoting healthy living. Children take part in a semester-long program that opens their eyes to pressing social problems, strengthens their self-confidence, and allows them to understand the power of solidarity through fun practical simulations. We utilize children’s natural and universal language – playing – to instil critical values and skills that favour positive, healthy interactions between individuals and society. Our recreational methodology is proven effective in helping children grasp the value of harmonious living effortlessly.
The Model: Walk us through a specific example of how your solution makes a difference; include your primary activities
An important component of Sports for Sharing is a treasure-chest exchange conducted every semester among participating schools. Throughout the course of the program, children collectively select objects that are representative of their cultural pride and identity and pack them up in creatively-crafted boxes to be sent to other communities. The only rule is that contents must be hand-made or part of the natural environment. At the end of the semester, boxes are strategically exchanged and each school receives a treasure-chest from a distant, contrasting community. For example we place boxes from rural schools in urban ones, boxes from coastal regions in mountainous areas and a private school might exchange their chest with an indigenous academic shelter. The purpose of this activity is to bridge cultural and social realities. When children come into contact with each other’s treasured objects they awaken their curiosity, respect and appreciation for diversity. One of our most beloved anecdotes is an urban child’s uncontainable excitement with a hand-crafted toy created by a raramuri indigenous child. The first child might have felt indifference or pity, at best, for the second prior to this experience that gave him new appreciation and admiration for another child living in a different socio-cultural context.
The Marketplace: Who are your peers and competitors? Identify others also working to address the needs you are and what differentiates you from them. What challenges could these players pose to your success or growth?
Any other program or organization working to address the need for civic education is our ally. Every effort counts towards delivering civic values, empathy and social awareness to the 26 million children enrolled in Mexico’s elementary schools. We believe deeply in our method but recognize value in other approaches. Diseña el Cambio, for example, is a program that gets children involved with their communities by stimulating them to design and launch social initiatives. I sincerely believe that Mexico has more than enough schools and children in need of civic instruction to worry about two programs getting in each other’s way.
Now that you have thought out your entry, help us pitch it.
Define your company, program, service, or product in 1-2 short sentences [136 characters]
Sports for Sharing: integrating civic education into children’s lives in a fun, meaningful way.
Identify what is innovative about your solution in 1-2 short sentences [136 characters]
Our methodology uses children’s natural and universal language – recreation – to help them assimilate values and civic awareness.
This Entry is about (Issues)
What has been the impact of your solution to date?
Sports for Sharing has empowered 44,571 children, their teachers and parents and helped improve behavioural attitudes in schools. Problems like apathy, bullying and gender exclusion are replaced by a more harmonious coexistence. An elementary-school teacher in Mexico City reported that her students became motivated to produce a talent show, inviting the school community to participate in a safe, respectful environment; she thanked us for introducing values like inclusiveness, tolerance and respect to the school. Stories like this one fuel our program and give true meaning to our impact evaluation that measures improvement in children’s attitudes through entry and exit surveys as well as interviews. This has shown, for instance, a 25% increase in children curious to meet a child from a different cultural background.
What is your projected impact over the next 1-3 years?
We plan to empower more children yearly. Today we can reach 15,000 children annually within Mexico. With a new operative model we will be able to include over 170,000 children in the program each year; we are investing in new multimedia training tools to lower implementation costs and allow for this to happen. We are also planning to scale our impact internationally before the end of 2012. We are exploring a social franchise model to expand to other countries in North and Latin America with the help of pro-bono consulting.
What barriers might hinder the success of your project? How do you plan to overcome them?
A challenge we always face is getting key people in education on our side. Teachers and school administrative staff are sometimes hesitant to get involved with the program because initial concerns are high that participation creates additional workloads. We present Sports for Sharing as a useful and complementary teaching tool and stress the benefits of guiding children’s civic development. We are liaising with important figures in the Mexican Ministry of Education to integrate the program into school curricula to enhance, not compete with, current academic content.
Winning entries present a strong plan for how they will achieve and track growth. Identify your six-month milestone for growing your impact
We plan to implement a new operative model to allow us to reach more children and their communities throughout Mexico.
Identify three major tasks you will have to complete to reach your six-month milestone
Complete training strategy design
Recruit new local field officers
Train new staff
Now think bigger! Identify your 12-month impact milestone
One year from now we will be inaugurating our first social franchised program abroad, starting with immigrant communities in the
Identify three major tasks you will have to complete to reach your 12-month milestone
Systematize social franchising model
Establish relationships with similar organizations in other countries interested in implementing the program
Build a strong marketing/communications kit to promote the program
Founding Story: We want to hear about your "Aha!" moment. Share the story of where and when the founder(s) saw this solution's potential to change the world [125 words]
I have been passionate about children and recognized their potential for as long as I can remember. I always knew I wanted to be involved with youth but my “Aha!” moment came while participating in the Ship for World Youth, where I was exposed to a myriad of programs from around the world. One spoke to me in particular because of the way it engaged children through their most natural way of learning – playing. This program was Sports-in-a-Box, a Canadian initiative, which I immediately felt compelled to learn more about, adopt and adapt to implement in my native Mexico with the focus of promoting civic education. I realized then and there that children could be taught values in a fun and meaningful way.
Tell us about your partnerships
We are partners with Ashoka, Youth Action Net and INK through the fellowships I have earned as founder and director of Sports for Sharing. These institutions have provided valuable guidance and support throughout our first years of growth. We also work in partnership with the Mexican government through the Ministries of Social Development and Education. Currently we are looking for allies in the private sector because we believe in the power cross-sectoral collaboration.
What type of team (staff, volunteers, etc.) will ensure that you achieve the growth milestones identified in the Social Impact section? [75 words]
Our team is composed of 35 multidisciplinary people based in Mexico City, where our main office is located. Our team members who work in the field travel back and forth constantly to implement the program throughout Mexico. As we scale our impact we will need to find local employees to carry out and supervise projects in each region. We are currently working on identifying these people to train and welcome them into our growing team.
Please elaborate on any needs or offers you have mentioned above and/or suggest categories of support that aren't specified within the list
Because we are planning to scale our efforts very soon within Mexico and beyond its borders, we need help to tap into private sector funding and networking support that can open new doors. We are also very eager to share our knowledge with organizations or individuals traveling a similar path.