Refugees

Introduction
The dramatic refugees crisis unfolding across the Middle East, Africa and Europe has great impact on refugees’ lives, tears them away from their beloved surroundings, and leaves them without a promising future. The refugees’ stories of the last couple of month have been heart-breaking. The NOC of the Netherlands (NOC*NSF), Dutch sports clubs and federations take their responsibilities and contribute to ease the refugees’ plight.

The Dutch NOC believes in the power of sport to help vulnerable people and, hence, runs and cooperates in special projects for this group since long time. As the influx of refugees to the Netherlands has increased in the last month, attention for this group has risen and institutions like municipalities, sports clubs, local organisations and Dutch citizens recognized the benefits of sport and decided to come into action. This reinforces the necessity, but also the chance of success, to give extra attention to this group immediately. Firstly, because there is a strong commitment in the Netherlands to help refugees during this difficult time. Secondly, because an increasing number of different stand-alone initiatives emerges in the Netherlands and requires to join forces and demands coordination, knowledge exchange, mentoring, and support from all partners involved.

In close cooperation with COA, the central agency for the reception of asylum seekers in the Netherlands, the Dutch NOC organises specific sports activities for refugees staying in refugee centres. Besides the generic effect of these activities, the activities also enable the refugees to get in direct contact with the local population and local culture. NOC*NSF launches these activities by encouraging, supporting, and coordinating local initiatives, by facilitating knowledge exchange, and by sharing best practices and successful tools and approaches. The Dutch NOC is well-equipped to carry out this task as it is the national Olympic committee as well as the National Sports Federation, the umbrella organization for all 74 Dutch sports federations and their affiliated 25,000 local sports clubs which, with almost 4 million members, are strongly rooted in the Dutch society and which provide widespread support for the initiatives.

To safeguard the success of the project the Dutch NOC works closely together with partners on national and local level. National partners are among others: COA, sports federations, Right to Play The Netherlands, and the Netherlands Institute for Sports and Physical Activity (NISB). Local partners are: sports clubs, COA asylum seekers centres, municipalities.

Project goals
The main goals of the project is to deliver, through sport and sport clubs, a direct and true contribution to meaningful daily activities for and the wellbeing of the refugees in the COA centres and to a fast and solid integration of the refugees in the Dutch society.

The sport activities are, in the first place, a means to provide well needed recreation, relaxation and distraction for the refugees in the refugee centres. However, taking part in these activities run by local clubs contributes to the encouragement and increasement of contact and understanding between the refugees and local communities and stimulates an active lifestyle and enhancing the health of the refugees. Furthermore, taking part in the activities stimulates the refugees to shape their future actively in the Netherlands or their home country as their engagement is not limited to join sports activities but also to implement, organize, and conduct sports activities.

Target group
The project appeals to all refugees in COA refugee centres regardless of age, gender, faith or nationality. No group is excluded a priori. However, the purpose and the nature of the activities can be different for each group depending on their particular situation and needs.

Partners
The main participating partners have agreed already to work closely together for the benefit of the refugees. They stipulated to share knowledge and experience from previous projects and to develop new activities together. Depending on the expertise and political and social influence of the partners the tasks have been distributed among them as followed:

  • Central Agency for the Reception of Asylum Seekers (COA)
    COA is in charge of the selection of the most applicable refugee centres.
  • COA refugee centres
    The refugee centres develop, in close cooperation with the sports clubs, and run the various activities.
  • Netherlands Institute for Sports and Physical Activity (NISB) and Right to Play The Netherlands
    Both organizations are in charge of knowledge exchange activities, development of specific projects, and support and education of coaches and activity managers.
  • Dutch sport clubs and federations
    The sports clubs and sports federations are running the various sports activities and engage, involve their widespread network to join in and to deliver (financial) support for project.
  • Municipalities
    The Dutch municipalities support and advice the refugee centres and sport clubs within their municipal borders.
  • National funds and foundations
    National funds and foundations make grants available and handle applications from clubs and federations bureaucratically.

 

Activities and actions
1) Analysis
In cooperation with COA the Dutch NOC carries out a brief generic survey among all COA refugee centres’ location managers to meet the demands and needs of the different COA centres. A second in-depth survey is carried out among those centres which will indicate significant or urgent demands and/or special interests in participation. The outcome of the second survey leads to action plans for every centre separately including activities, cooperation partners, timelines, budgets, and objectives.

2) Implementation
Most of the sports activities are run at the local sports clubs’ venues, sides, and fields. This stimulates and encourages the contact between the refugees, the club members and the local community. Depending on the needs and the objectives of the specific activities, in addition, activities can be organized at the COA centres also. Besides these generic sports activities refugees can also join and participate in other club activities like running regular trainings, collecting donated sports equipment, and maintaining sports facilities and training sides.

All activities are carried out in a solid and profound way with strong involvement and commitment from all participating partners. This secures the sustainability of the activities and Dutch sport clubs’ participation in refugee projects will become a matter of course in the future.

3) Support and cooperation
The project is supported strongly by the national partners providing practical, financial and policy-related support.

  • 1. Practical support (example) 
    -A specific group of refugees needs additional psychological support and counselling which cannot be provided by sport clubs. In this case partners which are specialized in psychological support will develop additional activities for the refugees and training courses for certain sport club staff members.

  • 2. Financial support (examples)
    - Not all partners directly contribute financially. Some partners provide support in kind or do claim financial compensation for their involvement. Among others these partners provide training facilities, equipment, transport, catering, and paid staff for free.
    - Institutions which are not directly involved in the project will provide financial contribution through their existing funds for vulnerable people.

  • 3. Policy-related support (example)
    - Hands-on advice from the municipalities on the COA refugee centres’ needs survey.
    - Incorporation of specific refugee project’s activities into the municipalities’ general sports policies

  • 4) Knowledge exchange
    As activities are be carried out at sports clubs and refugee centres across the country, knowledge exchange is an essential part of the project. Best practices, successful training methods and efficient tools are shared and distributed among the partners and third parties through fact sheets, newsletters and presentations. There are exchange seminars at different locations across the country to inform, educate, and motivate the participating sport clubs’ and federation’s members. Furthermore, a national seminar for all joining partners, clubs, federations and third parties increases awareness for the refugees’ situation in het Netherlands, emphasizes the power of sport and inspires third parties to join in.

    During the course of the project and after project completion all gained knowledge and experience will be available for national and international institutions like the IOC and national Olympic committees.

  • 5) Monitoring and evaluation
    Several evaluations will be carried out during the project’s term. Monitoring surveys will be run during the course of the project. At the end an evaluation among and in participation with the partners will be done. The monitoring and evaluation focus will be on the long term and short term impact of the different activities on the refugees.

  • 6) Coordination and involvement
    For a project like this, with various partners, involvement of third parties, strong public attention, and as an example for future projects, a clear and decent coordination is essential. The NOC of the Netherlands will act as coordinator and will be responsible for a good liaison between the participating partners, cost budgeting, knowledge exchange, and alignment of the main activities.

Partners
The main participating partners have agreed already to work closely together for the benefit of the refugees. They stipulated to share knowledge and experience from previous projects and to develop new activities together. Depending on the expertise and political and social influence of the partners the tasks have been distributed among them as followed:

  • Central Agency for the Reception of Asylum Seekers (COA)
    COA will be in charge for the selection of the most applicable refugee centres.
  • COA refugee centres
    The refugee centres will, in close cooperation with the sports clubs, develop and run the various activities.
  • Netherlands Institute for Sports and Physical Activity (NISB) and Right to Play The Netherlands
    Both organizations will be in charge of knowledge exchange activities, development of specific projects, and support and education of coaches and activity managers.
  • Dutch sport clubs and federations
    The sports clubs and sports federations will, besides running the various sports activities, engage and involve their widespread network to join in and to deliver (financial) support for project.
  • Municipalities
    The Dutch municipalities will support and advice the refugee centres and sport clubs within their municipal borders.
  • National funds and foundations
    National funds and foundations will make grants available and shall handle applications from clubs and federations bureaucratically.

Activities and actions
1) Analysis
In cooperation with COA the Dutch NOC will carry out a brief generic survey among all COA refugee centres’ location managers to meet the demands and needs of the different COA centres. A second in-depth survey will be carried out among those centres which will indicate significant or urgent demands and/or special interests in participation. The outcome of the second survey will lead to action plans for every centre separately including activities, cooperation partners, timelines, budgets, and objectives.

2) Implementation
Most of the sports activities will be run at the local sports clubs’ venues, sides, and fields. This will stimulate and encourage the contact between the refugees, the club members and the local community. Depending on the needs and the objectives of the specific activities, in addition, activities can be organized at the COA centres also. Besides these generic sports activities refugees can also join and participate in other club activities like running regular trainings, collecting donated sports equipment, and maintaining sports facilities and training sides.

All activities will be carried out in a solid and profound way with strong involvement and commitment from all participating partners. This will secure the sustainability of the activities and Dutch sport clubs’ participation in refugee projects will become a matter of course in the future.

3) Support and cooperation
The project is supported strongly by the national partners providing practical, financial and policy-related support.

  • 1. Practical support (example) 
    -A specific group of refugees needs additional psychological support and counselling which cannot be provided by sport clubs. In this case partners which are specialized in psychological support will develop additional activities for the refugees and training courses for certain sport club staff members.
  • 2. Financial support (examples)
    - Not all partners will directly contribute financially. Some partners will provide support in kind or will not claim financial compensation for their involvement. Among others these partners will provide training facilities, equipment, transport, catering, and paid staff for free.
    - Institutions which are not directly involved in the project will provide financial contribution through their existing funds for vulnerable people.
  • 3. Policy-related support (example)
    - Hands-on advice from the municipalities on the COA refugee centres’ needs survey.
    - Incorporation of specific refugee project’s activities into the municipalities’ general sports policies
  • 4) Knowledge exchange
    As activities will be carried out at sports clubs and refugee centres across the country, knowledge exchange will be an essential part of the project. Best practices, successful training methods and efficient tools will be shared and distributed among the partners and third parties through fact sheets, newsletters and presentations. There will be at least four exchange seminars at different locations across the country to inform, educate, and motivate the participating sport clubs’ and federation’s members. There will be, furthermore, a national seminar for all joining partners, clubs, federations and third parties to increase awareness for the refugees’ situation in het Netherlands, to emphasize the power of sport and to inspire third parties to join in.

    During the course of the project and after project completion all gained knowledge and experience will be available for national and international institutions like the IOC and national Olympic committees.
  • 5) Monitoring and evaluation
    Several evaluations will be carried out during the project’s term. Monitoring surveys will be run during the course of the project. At the end an evaluation among and in participation with the partners will be done. The monitoring and evaluation focus will be on the long term and short term impact of the different activities on the refugees.
  • 6) Coordination and involvement
    For a project like this, with various partners, involvement of third parties, strong public attention, and as an example for future projects, a clear and decent coordination is essential. The NOC of the Netherlands will act as coordinator and will be responsible for a good liaison between the participating partners, cost budgeting, knowledge exchange, and alignment of the main activities.