The unique Kickworldwide football project has thousands of Omani children are benefiting from education through football.
‘We’ve been waiting for a programme like this for a very long time, it’s just what the children need’ – this, the reaction of just one teacher in an Omani primary school that has already benefited from a unique and pioneering football outreach programme that is causing quite a stir in Al Batinah North.
The programme is being delivered by UK Company Kickworldwide in partnership with the Oman Football Association and the British Embassy in Muscat. It is being funded by the Sohar based trio of companies ORPIC, Sohar Aluminium and Vale who are committed to helping to educate and create new opportunities for the young people of Al Batinah North.
The outreach programme involves a team of Omani and UK teachers and ex footballers visiting primary schools every day for a period of four months.
Using fun and interactive presentation methods, the team educate around 200 hundred children between the ages of 8 and 12 per day about the importance of eating healthily, getting regular exercise and caring for others in their community.
The presentation then uses a hard hitting story and demonstration to help the children understand the importance of road safety before using a drama to warn the youngsters about the dangers posed by alcohol, cigarettes and drugs.
The visit reaches its climax when Kickworldwide’s mascot KW, a cool looking bear, turns up to give each child a colour booklet to take home. The booklet reiterates the key messages delivered during the presentation and gives the children some fun activities to ensure that the messages stay with them. The booklet also has key information for the parents explaining more about the programme in Arabic and English.
The children are then encouraged to draw pictures and complete competitions in return for another visit by the bear who then distributes some special tee shirts to each child.
After just two weeks nearly 2000 young children in Sohar, Liwa and Shinas have enjoyed the presentation and the response from the children and teachers alike has been fantastic.
This is just the first phase of a long term project that will also see thousands of teenagers aged between 13 and 16 benefiting from a unique leadership course that can lead to new education and employment opportunities through sport.
Sayyid Khalid Al Busaidi, OFA Chairman, said: ‘I am delighted that Kickworldwide and OFA are able to bring such a programme to Omani schools. This partnership will provide thousands of young school children with the opportunity to learn about a global sport, learn life skills and stay healthy.
OFA’s football initiatives in Oman allow us to connect with the wider community through a shared set of core values. We are passionate about the game, so I am very keen to see this partnership supporting the development of grassroots football in the country.’
Kickworldwide director Steve Bellis who delivered the first presentation at Om Emara basic education school earlier this month is delighted by the reaction to the programme ‘The look on the children’s faces show that they understand the importance of what we are teaching them and the enthusiasm for football is incredible. With the fantastic support of Orpic, Sohar Aluminium and Vale, we, along with the OFA, can make a real difference to these children by helping to instill key healthy lifestyle messages at such an early age. This is just the start however and we are looking forward to creating a team of young teenage leaders as the programme enters its next phase.’
The programme has the support of the Ministry of Sport and the Ministry of Education and also the British Embassy in Muscat.