Generation Amazing ends 2021 on a high in readiness for Qatar 2022
By Nasser Al Khori, Generation Amazing Programme Director
Generation Amazing (GA) concluded its eleventh year by hosting the annual GA Youth Festival 2021, under the theme "All In.” Delivered through our strategic partnership with Qatar Foundation, the festival celebrated Arab solidarity through football alongside the FIFA Arab Cup.
Hundreds of young people from Qatar and the region attended the festival, which took place at Qatar Foundation’s Education City. In collaboration with our partners, we provided participants with the opportunity to learn about the transformative power of football and how football can be leveraged to positively impact communities. In particular, we promoted the use of football as a tool to accelerate the achievement of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), with a focus on gender equality, inclusion, and climate change.
A major highlight of the GA Festival was the participation of players like Cafu, Luis Hernandez, Javier Mascherano, Sara Essam and many more joined on various days throughout the festival. David Beckham joined the GA Festival on the closing day, giving awards to the winners of the “All In” game and giving closing remarks to stress the importance of youth to act, using skills and football as a tool for development to positively impact their own communities.
We were also honoured to have Her Excellency Lolwah Al-Khater, Assistant Foreign Minister and Ibtihaj Muhammed, a member of the USA fencing team and Olympic medal winner who both addressed youth and spoke about the transformative power of sports on societies and the role of women in sports.
Just prior to the festival, Generation Amazing jointly won a Peace and Sport Award along with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) in recognition of our partnership currently delivering pilot projects under the name, ‘Uniting Through the Power of Football’. The project delivers capacity building workshops through the Red Cross and Red Crescent national societies in Argentina, Iraq, Myanmar and Uganda, utilising a hybrid curriculum co-created by IFRC and Generation Amazing.
Since the onset of the recent Afghan crisis, Generation Amazing has mobilised partners and volunteers based in Doha in support of the immeasurable humanitarian effort of Qatar’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA). As MOFA continues to provide shelter for Afghan evacuees during their transitory phase, Generation Amazing has been at the core of ensuring the creation of safe spaces for families and unaccompanied minors. We have set up a nursery and created an interactive environment for young boys and girls to learn through storytelling and art workshops while offering psychosocial support and respite care for Afghan adults. Through the support and dedication of Qatar’s Maktaba Children’s Library and many more local and international partners, we continue to support hundreds of young people and adults from Afghanistan via safe spaces to recover, rebuild and establish new social networks during their transitory phase in Qatar.
Football’s unifying power and ability to break down social barriers was highlighted in November when a women’s football friendly match between Qatar and Afghanistan was played at Khalifa International Stadium, one of eight World Cup stadiums. The match was organised by Generation Amazing with support from MOFA, the Qatar Football Association and the Qatar Women’s Sports Committee. In addition to the friendly football match, Generation Amazing also delivered its Football for Development Coach Education course to Afghan women’s football and basketball teams.
Earlier in the year, Generation Amazing announced a collaboration with the Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) to support member associations and their stakeholder communities across the region. The CONCACAF programme is geared towards improving inclusion, gender equality and safeguarding through football, specifically targeting children and youth who are at risk of exclusion, substance abuse or violence.
At the WISE Summit 2021, Generation Amazing and Education Above All (EAA), Qatar’s Scholarship Programme, launched Qatar Connection on 9 December of this year. This was followed by receiving a delegation of six students from Gaza to be part of the Generation Amazing Festival 2021 where they delivered a workshop to festival participants on soft skills through sport.
In August, Generation Amazing in collaboration with EAA and UNDP Palestine organised a festival under the name Football for Gaza. Our aim was to provide an opportunity for children, youth, and families to come together in the name of strength, resilience, and dignity through sports, in an effort to bring joy and a sense of belonging to many of the traumatised youth and children of Gaza.
Over the past decade, Generation Amazing has positively impacted more than 750,000 people and we remain committed to reaching 1 million beneficiaries by the time the World Cup kicks off. Plans are in development to ensure Generation Amazing’s legacy continues beyond 2022, to make a lasting impact across the globe. After the final whistle is blown at next year’s World Cup, Generation Amazing will continue its work, creating sustainable social impact in communities globally, and ensuring we deliver a long-term human legacy from Qatar 2022.