Teaching sports skills to break down barriers

Addressing gender stereotyping through sports - a blended e-learning approach.
Local Integration

Teaching sports skills to break down barriers

Addressing gender stereotyping through sports - a blended e-learning approach.
Teaching sports skills to break down barriers_pic from video.JPG

The project in brief

Implemented by

Jesuit Worldwide Learning


  1. Kakuma Refugee Camp, Kenya
  2. Dzaleka Refugee Camp, Malawi
  3. Bamyan, Afghanistan



The Youth Sports Facilitator professional course is expected to run as long as there is demand and resources-permit. We have received requests to expand to other locations and these are under review, such as Iraq, Mali, Central African Republic, Uganda, Rwanda, and Chad.

Project aims

Participants engage youth and learn to build a sense of safety and security with a focus on protection, gender inclusiveness, conflict management, psycho-social first aid, understanding referral pathways and building cross-cultural relationships, among others. They gain a professional skill set that will make them more employable (the course includes a practical section) and/or allow them to design, implement and sustain their own initiatives.

Through sports, they learn unity, tolerance and peace within and between the refugee and host community.


The mode of delivery (mobile, blended learning) is flexible, bearing in mind personal/professional commitments and safety considerations. 

They interact with peers from across the globe, as well as with a subject matter expert, through the virtual classroom, while also benefiting from the onsite support of a learning facilitator. 

Like other JWL programmes, the Youth Sports Facilitator course was developed in the Jesuit pedagogical framework, seeking to develop the whole person. Through the curriculum, student learning is based on the concepts of experience, reflection and action. As part of the learning process, they are invited to pause and consider questions of significance to themselves and their communities in the context of their coursework. At its culmination, they are invited to consider how their new skills and knowledge can be put into action within their communities.


VIDEO: Youth Sports Facilitator Course – Through the eyes of our students in Kakuma, Kenya

Resources used

Tablets and laptops


  • Seitwerk GmbH, Germany
  • Metropolitan State University, Denver, USA
  • Jesuit Refugee Service, Malawi and Kenya
  • Jesuit Province South Asia, Afghanistan

Challenges and how they were overcome


Uninterrupted internet connectivity

How they were overcome

Development of an app for on- and offline learning (study anywhere, any time, without internet connection) and the set-up of a local server which is located in a learning centre, that allows students to download learning content and upload assignments with no or little internet.

Results of the Good Practice 

The content and mode of delivery of the Youth Sports Facilitator professional certificate course enhances the self-reliance of our students, equipping them with skill sets that can give them greater access to the labour market (such as project management and leadership skills), either for employment or to design and establish their own initiatives. 

Through this internationally-accredited course, certified by the Metropolitan State University of Denver (USA), participants engage youth on a number of areas relevant to refugees and host communities, including protection, conflict management, psycho-social first aid, building of cross-cultural relationships, among others, to the benefit of the refugee and host communities. 

Female students are able to meet their professional and personal commitments through the flexible, mobile blended learning approach, and do not have to travel long distances to the learning centre of a daily basis. Sport can play a key role in involving children and youth from both displaced and host communities, and in helping address protection risks as well as social and developmental needs. Besides being a tool for child protection, sports programmes can contribute to achieving universal primary education, as they give children and youth and incentive to enrol and stay in school, encourage student engagement and enhance overall enjoyment of school. The course strives to way of transforming a community through the interaction that young people have through sports. It trains refugees and the host community to become facilitators who create, manage and sustain youth sports programmes for forcibly displaced and other vulnerable groups.

Next steps 

Scale to other locations in partnership with UNHCR.


Submitted by

Alessandra Carminati, Corporate Communications Manager, Jesuit Worldwide Learning