Keeping up with FANT
A brief recap
FANT (Football for A New Tomorrow) is a charity organisation with the aim of helping children coming from the challenging areas of Sierra Leone. Here FANT provides a platform of help where children have the opportunity to safely play sports and develop their talents. Moreover, they are informally educating democratic principles and human rights alongside local role models from the communities.
Last time we talked with the Founder Cecilie Hauerberg, we touched upon the focus of the FANT as well as collaboration with Les Deux and the changes in Sierra Leone created by a range of collaborations but also the future steps of the organisation.
We caught up with Cecilie Hauerberg to hear more about how FANT is doing these days.
Q: What is the plan for Sierra Leone to run independently?
First, we started FANT Denmark in 2012 and 2 years after we formed FANT in Sierra Leone in 2014. They have an independent organisation in Sierra Leone and are also registered in their country with a board and employees. We are supporting them financially, with monitoring advice, equipment and all of these things. But they actually run independently - on paper.
Of course it’s a collaboration and they listen very carefully when we give them advice. But the goal is for FANT Sierra Leone to be more independent. It is not the easiest task to do in one of the poorest countries of the world. It takes time and lots of patience.
Q: Are you in the position where you are trying to step back?
Yes, we are. It’s step by step process and we have to be really careful because if we step back too fast and they are not capable of doing things without our support they might fail. I have to constantly ask myself how much and how fast we can step back and when we do it, how much we can push them forward and ask them to take new responsibilities.
If it would be too fast from our side, we might lose everything we were fighting for. But on the other hand, it is also a great learning process for them because if we would not be stepping out, it would be so easy for them to just continue at the same road. I think that’s very human and happens everywhere. Someone has to push you for you to reach higher goals. They need to learn that they are not going to be supported forever and they need to take their own responsibilities for their actions. That is why for the next 2 years there are lots of workshops, courses trying to improve their capacities, to teach them how to fundraise locally.
They cannot get support from FANT Denmark forever. It is extremely difficult for us to get FANT Denmark to run financially, and in periods of time there will be a lack of funding. The NGO business is a F’ hard one when you are not UN, Safe the Children or one of the bigger organisations. We fight to survive Every day. Every week. Every month. We are depended on private companies and persons and a big part of my job is actually not that much fun. To ask people or for example Les Deux for money. You feel like a beggar, but I do it because I know it’s necessary to make the changes we are doing in Sierra Leone. There will be harder times and lack of funding, I need to make sure that FANT Denmark survives. If FANT Denmark is not there, we do not make a difference anywhere. Then it all ends for all of our partners.
Q: Do you have plans to do this business model elsewhere? In another country?
No, I do not think you can translate the exactly same in another country but you can use a lot of our learnings. We are expanding right now and hopefully, in 2019 we will have started two new projects with two new partners in partners in Africa. We are starting out a partnership with an organization by disabled arranging football activitites for young disabled people. They want to found the first disability sports federation in Sierra Leone and of course we want to help with that. And then we are starting another project in Ghana about sport and entrepreneurship. We are trying to support informal education and how to do sports entrepreneurship. It is very exciting and I look forward to these new projects.
I do not believe you can just take this type of project and transfer it to another country. I think you need to be very aware of what the local people are passionated about, what are their needs and what kind of projects can create local ownership. Our main focus is sport. So all the projects we are involved in has to be related to sport in some way. That is what we do, development through sport. But it does not necessarily need to be football clubs and exactly what we did in Sierra Leone.
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