December 1, 2016  |  

Sports for positive change – Gaza, Palestine

During the summer of 2016 YMCA Gaza implemented and successfully ran a new initiative called Sports for Positive Change. The idea of the programme was to provide a peer education system that encouraged participants to learn about the following topics, which were highlighted as important concerns for young people living in Gaza

  • Personal Hygiene
  • Early Marriage
  • Drug Abuse
  • Reproductive Health
  • Nutrition
  • Sports
  • Internet Abuse
  • Mental Health
  • Adolescence
  • Gender Based Violence
  • First Aid
  • Family Values

The project was run in collaboration with seven other organisations with the goal of training 50 peer educators who would then be able to provide training and support to 1000 participants.

The newly trained peer educators were able to use the sports facilities at the Gaza YMCA to deliver their workshops in a way that was fun, inspiring and non-confronting to the participants. The workshops were delivered over a one-month period and were successful in reaching 1000 young people aged between 14 and 25 years old.

This project from the earliest stages of planning right through until the final stages of evaluation was led by young people who are committed to making their community a safer and healthier place for their peers and for their communities. The challenges covered in the educational section of the workshops were all challenges shown in research as areas of concern for local young people. The peer educators were respected young people/youth workers with strong connections to the communities they were delivering the programme in and the eight collaborating organisations were all committed to improving the overall health and wellbeing of the youth in their communities. Below are some stories from participants in the programme that show some of the positive impact this programme had,

Wisam N. Obaid, 22, Female.

We met Wisam at a peer education workshop about “personal hygiene” at the “Future Development Organisation”, Beit Lahia, North Gaza.

She graduated last year from Al-Aqsa University majoring in “Elementary Education”, she currently lives in Al Awda project. According to Wisam the biggest challenges she is facing as a young Palestinian woman are unemployment, and the neglect of youth talents,

Wisam told us that she joined the peer education program because she had a free time and she wanted to invest it in a useful way. For her the new information she gained is the biggest impact this program had on her, the peer education sessions provided a platform for young people to discuss issues that are often considered taboo in a conservative community like North Gaza.

She hopes that through this kind of programs we can change the stereotypical view of women in society, boost the self-esteem of female participants, and spread awareness about critical health issues young people suffer from.

Before bidding her farewell, she told us that she wished to see more awareness programs in Beit Lahia area since it is very much needed.


Abdallah Fayyad, 25, Male.

We met Abdallah at al Zanneh a small town on the eastern outskirts of Khan Younis.

He is studying English literature at Al-Quds university.

Abdallah has recently started volunteering at Al Zanneh agricultural association (our partner in Al-Zanneh) and he hopes that though this voluntary work he will increase his experience and maybe he will have a better chance to get a job in the future.

He joined this program because he was interested in discussing health issues with young people his age, this is something young people seldomly do on their own so he was thrilled to know that through this project he can find the space for discussion and exchange of knowledge.

According to him, through this project he found out that many habits he used to do are wrong and that he needs to change them to healthier ones. For him the early marriage issue is the most important since he believes that it is widely spread in rural communities like Al-Zanneh.

Haneen A. Amra, 19, Female.

Haneen studies medical examination science at Al-Azhar university in Gaza, she lives in Abasan a small town on the outskirts of Khan Younis city. During her free time Haneen loves to draw, and surf the internet, but she spends most of her time studying, helping her mother with house chores, and sometimes going out with her friends.

Haneen has been involved for 2 years with our partner organization in several projects and workshops.

She told us that she joined our program because she wanted to benefit from the information, and also wanted to help spread awareness in society, she believes that this kind of programs provides the necessary space to discuss new issues, and she prefers this method over the typical method of hosting a medical expert and have him administer information.

According to Haneen, Early marriage was the most interesting issue discussed since it is widespread in the community especially in rural areas, during the discussions, Haneen says, the peer educators introduced many new pieces of information in a creative and fun way, and the participants opened up to their friendliness. For Haneen this is an opportunity to encourage her peers and talk about gender equality.



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