16 December RIGHT TO PLAY – “Look after yourself, look after one another”
Right To Play is an international non-governmental organization (INGO) based in Canada that uses sport and play programs to improve health, develop life skills, and encourage social and emotional development of children and youth in the world’s most disadvantaged communities. Right To Play Thailand Foundation, registered in Thailand, implements programs in Thailand using sport and play as an innovative and dynamic learning tool within a comprehensive and holistic approach to children and youth education and development.
WHAT RTP DOES
Right To Play’s programs promote the physical, cognitive, social and emotional development of children, andare an effective way to teach important values and life skills. Working with our partners, funders and local communities, Right To Play designs every program to meet identified community needs. To foster long-term sustainability, Right To Play works with local volunteers and teachers to implement its programs, focusing on four strategic areas: basic education and child development; health promotion and disease prevention; conflict resolution and peace education; and community development and participation.
In Thailand, Right To Play is working with 36 Thai schools across the country to improve the quality of education by addressing key life skills issues. With a specific focus on life skills education using play and sport based learning activities, Right To Play’s program supports holistic child development through the formal school system in Thailand. The program improves the quality of child-centerededucation, integrating life skills education into the classroom and the national curriculum. Right To Play also works in three juvenile training centers across the country, offering Thai youth leadership and team building opportunities – both practical skills for rehabilitation. Right To Play works closely with the Royal Thai Ministry of Justice, the Royal Thai Ministry of Education, Education Service Area Offices, teachers, UNICEF, and other stakeholders to support child-centered learning, reaching over 6,500 children on a regular basis, through over 300 trained Right To Play Teachers.
Right To Play also has a large program working with displaced persons from Burma living in refugee camps in Thailand. The program has trained over refugee community members who provide children living in this protracted refugee situation with a sense of normalcy as they deliver a holistic child development activities. Right To Play is currently working in 7 of the 9 camps on the Thai/Burma border, partnering with community groups and 53 refugee schools, reaching over 35,000 children on a regular basis, through over 600 trained Right To Play Leaders.
HOW RTP OPERATES
Right To Play has a unique delivery model. A global and national team train local volunteers and teachers who then create a foundation in their community for long-term Sport for Development programs that promote individual and community growth and development. Right To Play empowers teachers and volunteer community members to deliver child-centered participatory learning using play and sport based activities. This methods used by Right To Play allow teachers and community volunteers to use the power of sport and play to teach children valuable life skills such as managing emotions, developing healthy relationships, creative problem solving and valuing oneself and others. Right To Play’s work offers children affected by conflict opportunities for developing conflict resolution skills, troubled youth are given opportunities for leadership, and children across the country are given opportunities for learning valuable life skills.
A key aspect of Right To Play’s innovative methodology is the Experiential Learning Cycle, which is teaching/learning strategy that guides learners through a three-step process following an activity:
REFLECT – The learner considers: What did I just experience? Young children are taught the vocabulary to share their ideas and feelings and to respect the ideas and feelings of their peers.
CONNECT – The learner considers: How does this experience relate to earlier ones? How does it connect to what I already know, believe or feel? Does it reinforce or expand my view?
APPLY – The learner considers: How can I use what I have learned from this experience? How can I use it in similar situations? How can I use this learning to benefit myself, my community?
RIGHT TO PLAY VALUES
Cooperation (we put teamwork and fair play first)
Hope (we help make dreams possible)
Integrity (our actions reflect our values, vision and mission)
Leadership (we teach leadership by demonstrating it in our communities)
Dedication (we are dedicated to working with our communities)
Respect (we respect each other)
Enthusiasm (we have fun)
Nurture (we encourage each other with positive feedback)
SPORT FOR DEVELOPMENT AND PEACE
Sport for Development and Peace evolved from a growing body of evidence demonstrating that well designed sport-based initiative incorporating the best values of sport can be powerful, practical and cost effective tools to achieve development and peace objectives. Sport is now recognized by many international experts in the fields of development, education, health, sport, economics and conflict resolution as a simple means of achieving a diverse range of development goals.
Sport and play activities represent a powerful participatory learning tool, which readily captivates a variety of stakeholders, notably children and youth themselves. In addition to the provision of physical benefits, sport and play programs actively engage children and youth in their own development as the primary agents of change for future generations. Through our sport and play programs, we believe we can empower children and communities to look after themselves and each other. In everything we do, we emphasize the best values of optimism, respect, compassion, courage, leadership, inspiration and joy.
As a not for profit non-government organization, Right To Play Thailand’s work would not be possible without the generous support from its donors including the many individuals and organizations that have made contributions to Right To Play, including: DKSH Holding Limited, EFG Bank employees, and the following foundations: Wietlisbach Foundation, Frey Foundation, and the Alexander Charles Foundation.
RIGHT TO PLAY’s METHODOLOGY
Pedagogy: The methodology of using sport and play as convening agents and tools through which preventative health education, life skills development and child-centered learning can take place is a critical element of the Right To Play approach. Right To Play’s methodology is based on the work of educationalists such as Freire, Brown, Piaget, Bransford and others, all of which cumulatively support the concept of an educational process that is active, relevant, reflective, collaborative and applied. Action-oriented learning occurs through activity based lessons that have physical, cognitive, social and emotional foci.
Human Resources: The program delivery model relies on local community members, be they teachers or local NGO/CBO partner affiliates, to help carry out program implementation. The high ratio of school and community-based implementers, to full time staff enables program activities to be managed by community actors with broad oversight and technical support from staff members. Right To Play staff-led trainings of trainers support the professional development of these local partners. The Right To Play delivery model of engaging community members, coaches and teachers as programmatic leaders and change agents facilitates appropriate, replicable and adaptable activities by localizing ownership of program implementation. Furthermore, it fosters intergenerational communication and thus lays a foundation for sustainable change.
Engagement Space: Right To Play often works in formal educational environments and in many cases Right To Play’s programming is incorporated into national or local curricula. In other programs, Right To Play activities occur outside of the formal school day, but the school grounds are used as a convening center for activities. Work in informal educational environments, such as refugee camps and health centers, enables Right To Play to reach particularly marginalized children and youth, and to foster greater demand for formal educational services.
RTP’s GLOBAL REACH
Almost 700,000 children were reached in regular weekly activity in all Right To Play programs by the end of 2011. In addition, almost 600,000 children participated in festivals, summer camps and other activity that is less than twice per week. In Thailand, Right To Play is presently reaching over 45,000 children and youth on a regular basis.
These activities were facilitated by nearly 12,000 local Coaches, leaders and teachers and more than 5,000 Junior Leaders. Participation of girls and women in our programs remained high throughout 2011. Almost 50 per cent of children participating were girls and more than 50 per cent of Coaches, leaders and teachers were female.
Michael Albert, Country Manager, Right To Play Thailand Foundation
A graduate from McGill University in Montreal and a native of Canada, Michael Albert holds a Masters degree in International Community Health from the University of Oslo in Norway. Michael has worked in a variety of international aid and development countries including Bangladesh, Mali, Malaysia, Azerbaijan, Liberia, Haiti and Thailand.
As the Country Manager for Right To Play Thailand Foundation, Michael provides leadership and takes strategic and operational responsibility for delivering Right To Play Thailand’s diverse program, including using sport and play to provide education programming to refugees living in temporary shelters along Thailand’s border with Burma/Myanmar, as well as its Life Skills Development Program Program that uses Activity Based Learning to provide a more holistic approach to student education in collaboration with the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Justice in Thailand. Michael is presently the Chairperson for the Committee for Coordination of Services to Displaced Persons in Thailand (CCSDPT) and an active contributor to efforts to improve and enhance education for all in Thailand.