The Youth Forum 2016 brought young leaders from around the world to Lyon to empower them and provide them with tools to:


  • Understand the global dimension of today’s challenges, engage with innovative solutions and projects to drive social change, and undertake action to respond to global crises.
  • Serve as role models for other young people from around the world who will be following their advice and expertise during Festival 16 and inspire them to follow the same path.
  • Tackle local problems and drive change at a community level by implementing programmes following their return from the festival
  • Confront ongoing conflicts based on cultural differences by promoting dialogue and cultural diplomacy through football-based programmes
  • Develop a common voice on how the next generation of community leaders can use football to create positive social change and ensure that their voices are heard by the leading organisations in football for good gathered in Lyon and beyond


The Youth Forum included a number of different components to enable the young leaders to learn, network and initiate projects in collaboration with other participants. Since it took place in parallel to Festival 16, the 86 young leaders were able to put the knowledge and skills they acquired into practice by supporting the implementation of the festival and playing a key role during the football3 tournament.

The forum consisted of three main components: 



The first component of the programme was the session in football3, which demonstrated the power of the football3 methodology to promote dialogue, respect and understanding; to educate; and to convey life skills. Through the session, young leaders learned the football3 methodology and put it into practice on the pitch.



The second part of this session was football3 mediation, which prepared young leaders for their role as mediators during the football3 tournament on the last two days of the Youth Forum and Festival 16. Young leaders learned to overcome the challenge of communicating with participants with different cultures and different languages and discovered how to use football to break boundaries and build trust and understanding.



The last part focused on training the trainers: providing young leaders with the tools to train, teach and implement their own projects within the field of football for good. Participants had to learn how to convey the knowledge and experience they acquired to others.





In the second part of the programme, young leaders were asked to reflect on the skills they’d gained, their own personal experience and goals, and the needs of their community in order to develop local, regional or international projects in collaboration with other participants from the group. The objective of this session was for the young leaders to conceptualise and initiate projects that they can develop in partnership with other participants over the next two years.


Young leaders presented their community projects in small groups formed according to the issues that are most important to their organisations and communities. Despite the lack of a common language, everybody managed to contribute to discussion and share their ideas. 


The first group to present, led by Scott Smith (Street League, UK), addressed the issue of youth employability through a light-hearted role-play about a group of bored teenagers riding on a bus. But unemployment is no laughing matter in the local communities of each group member. The group laid out their plan to host football tournaments and invite potential employers, forging new ties between companies and players. “If young people leave school and don’t have a job they might start causing trouble and doing things they don’t want to do,” noted Scott. “The most important thing is to use football to teach them the skills that might lead to a career for them.”


Irish participant Gavin Fahy and his group focused on peace building through football and emphasised the need to “ease tensions in past and present conflict zones, targeting young people”. Echoing this sentiment, Nitzan Zohari of Mifalot Education and Society Enterprises, Israel, explained that “bringing young people together and getting them to play football as a way for them to get to know each other and learn that the other side is not as terrible as they think.” He went on to point out that a young age group is important to the success of their community project: “They are not old enough to have made up their minds about the ‘other side’ and we can make them come together through football.”


Sibusiso Emmanuel Mnisi of Altus Sport Vuma, South Africa, led an environmental issues group, reminding the audience that “climate change and waste management mostly affects poor countries, often leading to poor sanitation and bad water quality.” Neither of these issues are conducive to creating a sporting community, and Kenneth Otieno Okum from Vijana Amani Pamoja, Kenya, underlined the link between employment and sanitation in this context: “For people to be employed you need a safe environment, and we need to ensure that our surrounding is not polluted.”


The session concluded with a group consensus: The lessons we teach through the beautiful game need to transcend the boundaries of the pitch, exerting a positive impact on society at large.





The third part of the programme was hands-on, with young leaders developing and facilitating activities for the 300 young participants of Festival 16. Understanding how to work and communicate in such a multicultural environment was vital for the young leaders from more than 50 countries to successfully develop and implement a programme for participants with so many different backgrounds and cultures.


The experience the young leaders gained over the course of the first three days of the Youth Forum, as well as the example of German-French cooperation that Festival 16 itself provided, were crucial for their understanding of the power of sport in building understanding and trust amongst different cultures.


During Festival 16 young leaders assumed responsibility for several parts of the programme:



Festival Games were aimed at helping Festival 16 participants to integrate and form the mixed teams of the football3 tournament. Young leaders developed and facilitated eight integration games through which participants met, interacted and learned how to communicate with each other.



Young leaders conducted the training on football3 for festival participants to teach them the values and methodology of football3. Young leaders divided the activity in two parts: (1) conveying the three main values of football3 to be promoted at Festival 16: fairplay, equality and celebration, and (2) understanding the methodology and playing football3.



During the football3 tournament, young leaders assumed the role of mediators, putting their best communication and mediation skills into practice, in a very exciting and sometimes stressful context. 





The Youth Forum marked a historic step in the development of the streetfootballworld network when, on July 1st, young leaders of member organisations from around the globe elected the first Youth Council. The five Youth Council members will serve for a period of two years and will advise the streetfootballworld network board on how to better support the work of young people within the network.


The new Youth Council members bring diversity in terms of geography—they represent five different continents—and in the way they address social issues through football-based programmes.


Over the coming two years, these young leaders will represent the voices of their generation for streetfootballworld’s network board, the streetfootballworld team, and the outside world. They will also promote networking and exchange at a youth level; provide advice to streetfootballworld in the development and implementation of their programmes; and support other processes such as fundraising, communication and project implementation in their regions and beyond.