What is your signature innovation, your new idea, in one sentence?
Develop, through a minimal-cost, self-sustainable basketball league, both brotherhood and global outlook among youth whose ethnicities are traditional enemies.
Describe your innovation. What makes your idea unique and different than others doing work in the field?
La Ligue de Basket-ball d'Ati was founded in 2001 based on the idea of teaching several interested youth how to play basketball. The league quickly grew to incorporate players from all over our town of Ati, Chad, resulting in the establishment of both a youth (under 15) and young adult league. We are faced with not only dealing with children and youth with virtually no spending money (many living on less than $200/yr) but who also come from different ethnic and tribal backgrounds that have been and currently are at odds with each other throughout Chad's various civil wars and rebellions. We offer a venue through which kids can abandon the racially focused ways of their parents. The season is a learning process; by the end of the season players learn to be loyal to the members of their team regardless of ethnic background. Volunteer referees and coaches act as mentors to younger players both on and off the court.
What are the existing barriers, the biggest problem, your innovation is hoping to address/change?
Racial tensions are high in Chad, especially in our town of Ati, where an Arab population is the majority in a community of Ouaddai, Hadjerai, Zaghawa, Bilala, Sara, Goran, Fulata, among several others--many of whom have at one point or another been allied in political factions warring against each other. Each of Chad's presidents has been of a different ethnicity and has shown (in some cases, very violent and extreme) favoritism towards his religious or ethnic group.
Delivery Model: How do you implement your innovation and apply it to the challenge/problem you are addressing?
We ensure that teams include members of different ethnicities (which, in Ati, have naturally segregated themselves into separate neighborhoods). Our referees are from different areas of Chad and are trained to encourage fair treatment of all players regardless of ethnicity or other factors, like socio-economic standing.
How do you plan to grow your innovation?
The main obstacle at the moment is that the community basketball court used for all basketball activity is run-down and too expensive for the youth themselves to sustain. Once a more permanent terrain is secured, we will leave it up to the players and referees in the Ati community to run things their way--at minimal costs and following organization styles of the well-experienced local soccer league. The project does not end in Ati; our participants, no matter where they travel in the future, will have the shared passion of basketball with youth from across Chad, Africa, and the world as a commonality and bonding point.