Sport Against Racism Ireland (SARI) is a non-profit organisation engaging with sport in adult education, amongst other aras. SARI promotes and supports cultural integration, social inclusion and cohesion in the Irish Republic, Northern Ireland and abroad by using sport as a medium to combat racism, sectarianism, xenophobia, homophobia and all other forms of discrimination.
In 1997 SARI held its first Soccerfest, which has since grown into Ireland’s largest intercultural football tournament for men, women and children, attracting over 4000 people annually. The event includes cultural activities and educates participants on options to mainstream into other sports organisations. It provides an environment in which people from a diverse range of backgrounds and cultures can appreciate their shared passion and compete in a respectful way, recognising the diversity that is among the population and a feature of international sport.
But Soccerfest is just one of the many events and programmes which the volunteer led organisation runs. Other events include their World Refugee Day’s Fair Play Football Cup, Africa Week Athletics, Stick With Diversity which introduces a number of sports to young people from different ethnic backgrounds and Beach Cricket with UNITAS for men, women and children. Meanwhile, their campaign United Through Sport is a major awareness campaign and education support on the powerful potential for positive integration through sport with the participation of many of Ireland‘s leading sportsmen and women alongside aspiring young people.
Ken Mc Cue, International and Education Officer and Cultural Planner at SARI, spoke with EPALE Ireland about SARI’s passion for adult education through sport and his own passion for the Erasmus+ projects SARI has been engaged with. One such project was a Transfer of Innovation Project which SARI and 4 other international organisation were involved in. The European Project strove to promote best practice and training approaches of mobility placements in Europe, especially within the sports industry. Ken sent us on the below information the project.
Transfer of Innovation Project
Transfer of Innovation Projects were classified as large scale projects under the Leonardo da Vinci strand of the Lifelong Learning Programme and enable organisations in the UK to work with prospective EU partners in Europe. Transfer of Innovation projects were designed to support and develop UK based vocational education and training (VET) resources onto an adaptable European Platform, integrating standards of best practice and transfer of knowledge through working in partnership with European partners. For these projects to be successful in a European context, at least two European partner organisations were required in order to maintain a good European influence in the project, which was essential for the transfer of innovative resources.
Transfer of Innovation Project (Supporting the Transfer of Education & Mobility Strategies - STEMS)
Southern Regional College in Northern Ireland became the lead partner in its first Leonardo da Vinci Transfer of Innovation Project based on Supporting the Transfer of Education & Mobility Strategies (STEMS) which was successfully funded under the Lifelong Learning Programme by the UK National Agency ECORYS.
This innovative project enabled Southern Regional College, as the lead partner, to work in partnership with five different European organisations. Partners were:
Limerick Institute of Technology, Ireland
DECROLY SL, Spain
Sportilia Azzura, Italy
Cumbernauld College, Scotland
Sport Against Racism Ireland (SARI)
The key rationale behind this European Project was to enable partnership organisations to work together on the development of innovative VET resources that would promote best practice and training approaches of mobility placements in Europe, especially within the sports industry, that would eventually be integrated into a European wide platform, setting a benchmark of good practice for sports industries throughout Europe.
The key objectives to be achieved from the Transfer of Innovation (STEMS) project with European partners were;
To develop a mobility strategy in the form of a handbook for the management of European mobility work placement process and also to support supervisors and mentors of sports students to improve upon the quality of sports mobility placements in Europe.
To investigate the feasibility of delivering an accredited Good Relations Programme to sports students during European mobility placements to help challenge factors such as prejudice, discrimination, racism, and sectarianism that may exist in the field of sports. The Good Relations Programme is currently nationally accredited in the UK and this project provides an opportunity for partners to investigate the potential of adapting and accrediting the Good Relations Programme in EU countries.
The project brought many innovative approaches and entailed a strong European influence through the expertise and knowledge from the European partners which was valuable to the project in terms of supporting the transfer of education and mobility strategies (STEMS) in addition to developing innovative approaches and strengthening European links with the college.
The project involved the examination of current VET resources used in the UK and with the influence of the European partners, resources were adapted to suit the national framework of the EU educational system incorporating cultural diversity materials to conform to the different cultures and work ethnics of the partner countries. This ensured that legislations and codes of good practices were recognised and implemented into the project outcomes to provide a positive learning and working environment for both staff and students through quality mobility placements.