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National partner profile: Ivory Coast

Don't Forget Them Association

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Team Ivory Coast is organised by the Don't Forget Them Association, based in Abidjan. They use sport and especially football to reintegrate homeless or formerly homeless adults, street children, and youth; people displaced by war; prisoners; and other groups of people in difficult situations. Football is used to help them out of the streets, and also to improve lives of prisoners who might otherwise lose their focus and motivation.

DFT run street football programmes in Abidjan and nine other cities, uniting street youth confronted by homelessness, war displacements, substance abuse, poverty, and sexual exploitation. They use football in order to promote self-help, environmental awareness, health education with focus on HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention, and development of general life skills. One of their football programmes takes place in the Prison of Abidjan, where they organise a three-month tournament titled Maracanã in order to encourage physical activity for the prisoners, as well as promote HIV/AIDS awareness.

Outside Abidjan, DFT cooperates with local landowners and farms who have agreed to host some of the participants. Participants help with fish and animal farming, crop management, machinery, household, and other activities, and are paid for their work in order to secure their financial independence.

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Mission statement

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Don't Forget Them Association work to accelerate communal development, rehabilitation, and social integration of vulnerable people through sport. They work on behalf of those suffering from substance abuse, violence, poverty, and other social problems, and teach them how to be proactive and improve their lives. They also aim to attract the attention of the general public and educate them about the social and developmental function of football.

Football is an ideal setting to learn emotional discipline and the benefits of teamwork. DFT organise tournaments to help communities access security, health and financial autonomy.

Goals for the future

Education

To collaborate with schools in order to return participants to education and to provide more scholarships for participants

Social Inclusion

To organise a “STOP Homophobia” tournament and allow members of LGBT community, who are generally rejected by society, to practice football freely

Tournaments

To organise the first street football championship

Additional information

Football Activities

Tournaments and training sessions, joint projects with football NGOs from Burkina Faso and Mali, and a football programme for prisoners

Non-football services

Distribution of food, accommodation, basic literacy education, scholarships for students, health education, and job training in poultry and fish farming

Participants challenges

Homelessness, substance abuse, criminal activities, poverty, and sexual exploitation

Organisation challenges

The staff works on a voluntary basis; Abidjan is a very densely populated town so they have to carry out their activities in the suburbs.

Country challenges

Civil war has pushed the country into extreme poverty, and currently 42.7% of the population live below the poverty line (World Bank, 2015).

Up to a million people were displaced as a result of the post-election violence in 2010 and socio-political insecurity presents a constant threat that can lead to homelessness (United Nations, 2011).

Homelessness Statistics

The housing deficit is estimated at 40,000 units per year, and urbanisation keeps worsening the problem. In rural areas, many people live in temporary structures made of wood and mud, which require extensive maintenance and repair and which are often highly flammable.

Around 68% of the population live in slums (Urban Habitat, 2014).

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