Refugee-Led Program Expansion Begins in Eastern Chad with the Support of The UEFA Foundation for Children
The expansion of Little Ripples (LR) and the Refugees United Soccer Academy (Academy) is well underway with the help of the recent grant from the UEFA Foundation for Children. As one of 55 selectees in 2021, we will be able to use these funds to bring iACT programs to all twelve of the camps in eastern Chad.
With ongoing challenges surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, iACT created remote teams of global staff, volunteers, advisors, and veteran refugee colleagues in eastern Chad to discuss and plan for the first-ever Academies in refugee camps Amnaback, Gaga, Oure Cassoni, and Treguine, as well as the first-ever Little Ripples preschool centers in refugee camp Amnaback. These efforts included the launch of an on-going Healing Through Play campaign for the project’s remaining funding needs.It also provided global support to iACT’s refugee colleagues on project timelines, resources, and launch plans for in-person program expansions.
iACT’s Team meets to discuss expansion plans for 2021
Then, in late May of 2021, a fully-vaccinated U.S.-based iACT team traveled to N’Djamena, Chad. After following local COVID-19 safety protocols, they were able to deliver essential program materials and resources so that iACT’s Chad team could begin their travel to camps ready to receive iACT programs. This team meeting also allowed for current iACT academy coordinators, education directors, and the country director to engage with iACTivist: A Mindful Humanitarian Pathway, to support their professional and leadership development.
In early fall, this group of men and women refugee leaders (which includes iACT coaches, teachers, and coordinators) will travel together throughout 2021 to train their new colleagues in iACT’s three-part coach and teacher training, respectively. This will include peer-to-peer mentorship to the newly hired iACT staff members as they launch their own programs, begin building relationships, and ignite impact in their wider communities.
A refugee-led expansion of programs without international NGO staff is unheard of in the humanitarian sector. The leadership of iACT’s refugee staff in this role is a central example of iACT’s commitment to shifting power in the humanitarian system and its aim to create a more mindful humanitarian world. We will eagerly be waiting to share updates as this process unfolds!
By the afternoon, the consensus was encapsulated by what one humanitarian worker in Bangui told us, “This is CAR. It is always high risk.”
Fr. Vazken Movsesian, from In His Shoes, interviewed Katie-Jay and Gabriel about their shared journey as anti-genocide activists and about iACT’s work, from its inception to our recent trip to Armenia to work with communities affected by the 2020 war in Artsakh.
We are excited to announce that iACT has secured initial funding for our team to return to the Central African Republic (CAR) this fall, for the first time since 2017.