Qatar Football Association (QFA), Qatar Shell and the Foundation FC Barcelona (FFCB) signed an agreement today extending the award winning extra-curricular school programme, Il’Ab We’Yana, for an additional two seasons.Il’Ab We’Yana is part of the KOORA TIME initiative created by the QFA and Qatar Shell, and is based on FFCB’s FutbolNet methodology which uses football to develop healthy habits and encourage positive behavioural change.
The extension follows the incredible success of Il’Ab We’Yana in Qatar. Institut DEP, an independent sports education research agency, recently published findings demonstrating that the programme has had a significant impact on the Body Mass Index (BMI) of 89 per cent of participants from the program’s first two seasons.
Commenting on the new agreement, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa bin Ahmed Al Thani, President of the QFA, said: “The renewal of this agreement demonstrates an ongoing commitment by Qatar Football Association, and its partners Qatar Shell and Foundation FC Barcelona, to encourage young people in Qatar to adopt active and healthy lifestyles. We are proud to extend this partnership and hope to have a positive social impact for years to come.”
As part of the agreement, Shell will continue to activate the program in Saudi Arabia, Oman and Iraq, in addition to Qatar. The FutbolNet methodology provides a flexible educational structure to work with youth so that the program can be tailored to local circumstances in each country. In Qatar and Saudi Arabia, the program taps into the most popular sport in the region – football - to inspire a healthy and active lifestyle amongst youth, ultimately leading to a positive transformation within the community. In Oman and Iraq the program focuses on transmitting life and leadership skills to youth to better their future opportunities and develop their sense of responsibility towards society.
Wael Sawan, Managing Director and Chairman of Qatar Shell companies, said: “A key driver for Shell and the QFA to partner with Foundation FC Barcelona is the fact that the football club is not only globally recognized for its sporting excellence, but also for its unique social commitment. Our partnership is the first of its kind and reinforces our commitment to the Qatar National Vision 2030.”
The third season of Il'Ab We'Yana recently kicked off and will take place over 24 weeks. Certified male and female coaches from the QFA and Qatar Women’s Sports Committee will hold weekly sessions at eight different venues across the country, including Al Wakra and the northern communities, with the potential to positively impact the lives of over 1,000 young people. Each session runs for two hours with the aim of providing over 100 hours of extra-curricular physical activity to each participant.
In addition to providing young people in Qatar with greater access to extra-curricular physical education, the program teaching modules also emphasize the importance of drinking water and maintaining hydration, eating fruits, vegetables and grains, eating a good breakfast and getting sufficient sleep. The modules also stress the harmful effects of fast food and snacks, fat and sugar, and tobacco use.
Josep Maria Bartomeu, President of FC Barcelona, said: ““We are very excited to continue our partnership with Shell. It is great to see that our partnership has had a measurable social impact on youth in Qatar. FutbolNet is about more than football, it is a tool for the personal growth of girls and boys with which we can make a meaningful contribution to Qatari society, which we hope will have a positive impact for years to come.”
Il'Ab We'Yana was officially recognised at the Sport Industry Awards 2014 earlier this year, winning the ‘Best Youth Development Initiative’ award. The second season concluded during Ramadan with more than 700 children aged 6 to 12 years old having taken part, 25 percent of whom were Qatari nationals.
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