Handover Strategy/Challenges and Opportunities
Now, in 2016, time is changing dramatically for FFAV. In our next agreement with our main donor, NORAD, we have received less funding and a shorter agreement period. It has also been a clear requirement that the time has come for handing over, and that after 2018, FFAV cannot expect continued funding from NORAD.
This forces us to speed up the planned handover strategy. In our planning, we were hoping for more time to prepare for the handover, as a strong ownership among the Vietnamese partners must be ensured, and that they are willing to invest in resources for a continuation of the activities. Such a process is of course based on seeing the benefits for the children and youth, without this why should one invest?
A key issue for the future is how to recruit human resources in the clubs, and to increase self-funding for activities. This is to ensure that the clubs become sustainable. For some areas in Vietnam, where the economic growth have led to more financial resources among the parents, and have given them more spare time to invest in their children, a social mobilization among parents to become board members, coaches, referees etc. looks feasible indeed.
For some of the poorer rural areas it will still be a huge problem, as most parents work every day of the week, from dawn to dusk. There must be some ways to support these families, in order for football to be open and inclusive, not only providing activities for those who can pay.
We have clear evidence that reduced funding for activities in the clubs have led to reduced activities, for example less Fun Football Festivals, less Children’s Grassroots Football Schools etc. At the same time the number of clubs have increased, we now have 184 football clubs with over 17.000 children, and 50 % of them are girls. The regular trainings in clubs have increased in the same period, but self-earnings in clubs must be increased.
Less funding also challenges NFF/FFAV to restructure organization in which some staff have to leave, and at the same time the financial support for activities have to be reduced. Seeing some of our members of the loyal, dedicated, hardworking FFAV staff having to leave us is heartbreaking. It is like losing family members, but unavoidable. We are well aware of the difficult job market in Hue, but will try to help staffs in pursuing new jobs.
However, having observed that FFAV initiatives have led to hundreds of thousands of children being engaged in a very popular activity, learned important life skills while playing football, having received reports that drop out from schools have been reduced, absence from class is reduced, disciplinary behavior has been better, grades are higher and that local commitment and engagement is increased, FFAV have no doubt that we have found gold. Our claim for these results are supported by official statistics and reports, as well as strong stories from the children and youth themselves and from parents and teachers.
This is also reflected in the many prizes and endorsements we have received for our work, and the trust we have gotten from our partners, businesses, footballs own governing bodies (UEFA, AFC, FIFA). The highlight of course being the AFC Dream Asia Gold Award, naming FFAV as the best NGO within football in Asia.
In aftermath, we can ask the question if enough has been done in this respect from FFAVs side. Maybe we should have started mobilizing parents earlier, maybe we should have been much closer to our partners, especially on provincial and national level?
But the question is: what priority does this have within VFF and MoET? How much time and effort are they willing and able to put into this work. FFAV know this will take time, and right now time seems limited, or at least restricted. A proper handover process needs investment, both financially and in terms of human resources as well as enough time to ensure a good result. Time will tell if the time was enough.-------