Arsenal are bringing partner Save the Children to host an event at the World Economic Forum in Davos.
Aiming to raise the profile of the impact that conflict and violence has on the mental health of children and their families - as well as exploring what football can do to support them - the “Children’s Right to Recovery: I am the future” event will focus on how sport can provide leadership, foster partnerships and help leverage greater investment from the private sector to support children affected by conflict and aid mental health and wellbeing.
The pair have been working together on the Coaching for Life campaign, which has combined Save the Children’s expertise in child protection with Arsenal’s experience of work in its local community.
Kevin Watkins, Chief Executive at Save the Children said: “We know that mental distress can affect children in a number of ways. It can lead to changes in behaviour, feelings of anxiety, depression, hopelessness and worthlessness. In the short-term, conflict and exploitation can affect children’s sense of wellbeing, educational outcomes and ability to cope with their situation. However, where it is most severe and children are not provided with support, this distress can have life-long effects and has the potential to affect children’s long-term physical and cognitive development.
“Coaching for Life has been working in Jordan and Indonesia since 2018 to help and support some of these very vulnerable children. Save the Children has been committed to protecting children for 100 years and now thanks to The Arsenal Foundation, we can continue to empower and protect girls and boys through the sport that they love.”
The Coaching for Life campaign’s first phase aims to engage over 4,000 children in Jordan’s Za’atari refugee camp as well as those affected by poverty and violence in Jakarta’s slums in Indonesia. Co-created by The Arsenal Foundation and Save the Children, it has trained 14 coaches in Syria and 33 in Indonesia to deliver the programme across five pitches in Jordan and seven pitches in Indonesia.
The event in Davos, hosted by the Global Citizen Forum as part of their Beyond Boundaries series, will draw on the campaign, with speakers including Save the Children’s CEO Watkins (quoted above), Svenja Geissmar Chair of The Arsenal Foundation and Dr Leslie Snider, Director, MHPSS Collaborative for Children and Families in Adversity. Children who take part in the Coaching for Life programme in Za’atari Refugee Camp will also contributing to this discussion and talk about their personal experiences.
Svenja Geissmar, Chair, The Arsenal Foundation, said: “Arsenal’s work in its local community has grown significantly over the years and has always had young people at its heart. Our work and expertise, combined with the unique power Arsenal has to reach people, has responded to the needs of vulnerable young people and found a way to reach them. Through trusted coaches, carefully developed projects and being a constant presence and source of support and inspiration, Arsenal has supported thousands of young people and shown them that we care and have not forgotten them.
“As the club’s profile has grown internationally, we always knew we could use our expertise to reach many more young people in crisis across the globe. Together with Save the Children we have combined their global infrastructure and our expertise to make a difference through our Coaching for Life project to support these children.
“I believe this is one of the most innovative projects in world sport, using our influence to protect children affected by conflict and violence to improve their mental, physical and emotional wellbeing. I’m incredibly proud of the Coaching for Life programme and want to share our experience with others to drive continued investment in sports programmes that can be deeply impactful to help improve mental and physical health for the world’s most vulnerable young people.”