A sports-based social intervention program jointly launched by RYTHM Foundation and ASA Foundation took home the gold at the recent 2021 Indonesian SDGs Awards (ISDA) for its efforts to improve the quality of education for vulnerable youth and adults in Indonesia.
The award-winning project was launched in 2019 when RYTHM Foundation, the social impact arm of the QI Group with a mission to ‘Raise Yourself to Help Mankind’, embarked on a three-year commitment to support the ASA Foundation’s endeavours to uplift the nation’s youth using the power of sports. As an education and empowerment-focused NGO, the ASA foundation strives to help vulnerable youth by conducting sustainable social impact programmes in schools and through community-based projects.
Lee Hawkins, Founder & Technical Advisor of the ASA Foundation, shared, “Although we have long since been working on social impact projects across Indonesia and previously won a regional Stevie CSR award, this is our very first award from ISDA. The award marks an important milestone for us. Still, the most pertinent thing is that the collaboration between ASA Foundation and RYTHM Foundation will result in increased quality of life for the people across the target area of our project – Banten in West Java.”
The project backed by RYTHM kicked off with a three-day Training-of-Trainer (ToT) workshop in Tangerang, Banten, Indonesia to build the capacity of 36 local teachers and youth from local junior high schools. The training was conducted to equip them with the skills to deliver an effective sports-based education development and empowerment programme to vulnerable youth. These skills include communicating effectively, character building, leadership, self-awareness, empathy, critical thinking, creative thinking, decision-making and more.
Once they were equipped to be trainers, the teachers were then placed in junior high schools across Tangerang to implement their learnings to over 9,700 high school students. The project focused on imparting knowledge on key topics such as health, hygiene, life skills, gender equality and more. It also aimed to inculcate values that promote positive attitude changes, to empower the youth with self-confidence and provide them with a safe-space to engage in discourse that promotes cohesion and social inclusion. In short, the goal was to prepare the youth to enter society as responsible adults.
Head of RYTHM Foundation, Santhi Periasamy expressed her conviction in the programme as she shared, “This award is a timely and well-deserved recognition for the ASA Foundation as this project is a high impact initiative that has been specially curated to upskill and prepare vulnerable youth to pave a progressive and successful path for themselves. I must say that it is a very holistic programme which takes into consideration the physical, social and spiritual elements needed to mould the young into dynamic human capital.”
Throughout the programme, ASA Foundation also conducted weekly mentorship and evaluation sessions to monitor the progress and teaching outcomes. This included theoretical and practical assessments, surveys and interviews with 10% of the student beneficiaries to gather their feedback and measure their knowledge of the programme.
“The whole idea is that beyond the completion of these programmes the teachers and community members can continue to run our programmes. At the end of the day, we are looking to shape the youth long-term to improve their livelihoods by developing their life skills as well as improving levels of health, hygiene and the quality of education and preparing them for the workforce,” said Hawkins.
When the pandemic hit in 2020, programmes were initially delayed but the ASA Foundation wasted no time in switching to virtual learning development solutions and monitoring methods. The teachers began running Zoom-based training, while the foundation also developed a virtual empowerment booklet and a virtual COVID-19 prevention and hygiene awareness platform as tools to support the project.
“Pre-pandemic all our programmes were grassroots based, so everything was face-to-face, so we had to get creative and think about how we could sustain these programmes to continue the education and learning of the students. We had education through sports development modules which included activities they could run with their families in their communities. It worked really well and kids were sending photos and videos of their activities which was really cool,” Hawkins shared.
The project was kickstarted on the heels of a previous successful collaboration between RYTHM & ASA Foundation which involved a 12-month inclusive women empowerment education development project based in Subang, West Java, Indonesia which impacted 30 female school teachers and over 5,000 youth with and without disabilities.
“RYTHM Foundation was keen to partner with ASA Foundation again for this latest project as it very aptly aligns with our three main focus areas – education for all, gender equality and building sustainable communities. The ASA Foundation’s track record on planning and executing programmes of this nature was of added value to us in accepting them as partners. We are extremely delighted that our partners have received this award and we look forward to working with ASA Foundation to continue impacting the lives of the vulnerable more effectively,” said Periasamy.
The ASA Foundation went up against 30 other organisations for the ISDA award, which included major industry players and clinched the gold award for this project which contributes towards the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal 4 focusing on ensuring that all girls and boys have access to complete free, equitable and quality primary and secondary education leading to relevant and effective learning outcomes. The annual award is part of an ongoing collaboration between the Corporate Forum for CSR Development (CFCD) and the Indonesian Ministry of National Development and Planning to support Indonesia’s alignment towards the United Nations’ (UN) Sustainable Development Goals.
“This is a fantastic achievement for ASA Foundation and we would like to dedicate the award to all our local teams who have worked very hard on our projects. It’s been a very tough 18 months with the pandemic but I think we have proved with our work, especially switching to a virtual learning development programme, that we can still have the kids effectively learning through virtual learning solutions. We hope this award can be a trigger for both ASA and RYTHM Foundations to strengthen future collaborative efforts for the development of youth in Indonesia,” Hawkins said.