For this project we partnered with Right to Play (RTP) Lebanon to design and build safe play spaces in multiple locations across Lebanon, including two public schools. The project was part of a wider program called Sport and Humanitarian Assistance (SAHA), which aimed to harness the power of football to bring children and youth from different communities together. To facilitate this, we drew on previously successful projects (Bouday Child Friendly Space and BASMA playground), taking forward the approach of working within existing infrastructure, as opposed to building from scratch.
RTP identified Tyre, Chanay and Chehour as suitable areas for the project. The site in Tyre already had a football pitch where RTP ran activities with children. The project in Tyre therefore aimed at enhancing this existing space. We did this by creating shaded areas and water points, as well as building changing rooms and a place to conduct training activities. In Chehour and Chanay, we worked with public schools to construct new basketball and football courts. We also added resting areas and improved the overall safety of the play spaces.
All these interventions were designed with the participation of the children and school staff, as well as RTP staff who advised on the specific needs of the SAHA program. Following our work methodology, the project aimed to meet both the short, and long term needs of the community. The intervention’s immediate outcome ensured that the outdoor spaces of these schools were safe for the SAHA activities to be run. Yet, by creating safe spaces for physical activity and play more generally, these interventions aim to continue enhancing children’s creativity, problem solving and social skills. Play not only fosters resilience and encourages opportunities to learn, but it can also reduce anxiety and stress. In their programmes, Right to Play thus uses play to teach subjects and life skills.
These interventions were designed to be permanent and were completed in June 2019.