Today, PPI’s Technical Assistance Program Director, Brian Cognato, updates us on PPI’s latest training program, working in partnership with AMIDEAST in Yemen.
One of the most exciting aspects of our new technical assistance program here at PeacePlayers International (PPI) is the geographic diversity of the projects that we do. Since we implemented our first project, a pilot training in Cyprus two summers ago, we’ve had trainers travel everywhere from Casablanca to Chicago to Bishkek. In February, we were happy to bring our approach to another country, training more than 60 first-time coaches in Yemen as part of the “Promoting Youth Civic Engagement” project, administered by AMIDEAST and funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).
“Promoting Youth Civic Engagement” (الشباب تنشيط مشروع) is a two-year project funded by USAID to engage youth in sports and recreational activities in the Yemeni cities of Aden and Sanaa and three other governorates. AMIDEAST has supported educational efforts in Yemen for more than 50 years, so when they invited PPI to train some first-time basketball coaches in its approach, we were excited by the opportunity to work with such an established, savvy partner in a new region for us.
Two of our most experienced trainers, Andrew Gordon (formerly PPI’s Director of Operations) and Julie Younes (formerly a PPI Fellow in the Middle East) led our February training, which consisted of two four-day coaching clinics, one each in Aden and Sana’a. The content drew from PPI’s own coach-training methods and covered everything from the basics of coaching basketball – shooting, dribbling, etc. – to how a coach can serve as a role model for the young people with whom they work.
Both came back raving about the commitment and passion of the young leaders they trained, men and women in their late teens and early twenties who are enthusiastic about having new tools to reach out to others in their communities. Andrew and Julie cited as a particular highlight a teambuilding activity on the second-to-last day of the training, when the whole group worked together to put the finishing touches on a new court at the PYCE office.
Another training is scheduled for summer of 2012, when PPI will return to Yemen to check on the coaches’ progress and help them take the next step using basketball as a tool to build stronger communities. Stay tuned for updates!