Right to Play

Johann Olav Koss



THE HUMAN IMPACT: Play and sport based learning methodology can help integration and engagement of refugee youth. Right to Play believes there is a large amount of willingness to make life easier for refugees and that people want to have new citizens become contributing individuals. They use the power of play to build life skills, create supportive environments for children and youth to become agents of change and to promote social integration and cohesion in communities, while bringing joy to children.

THE NUMBERS: In 20 countries around the world (Africa, Middle East, Asia), and through over 16,000 trained coaches and teachers, Right To Play supports over one million children and youth learn through play to create better futures, while driving lasting social change.

HOW DOES IT WORK? With Right To Play, Johann Olav Koss uses the power of sport and play for development, health and peace, all the while supporting behavioral changes and enhancing children’s holistic development. The basis of all the programs is the social, emotional, cognitive and physical development of children. Right to Play’s interventions focus on three main areas: enhancing quality education, transforming health practices and building peaceful communities. Sport and play is at the core of all project activities. The methodology consists of thousands of fun and interactive games intentionally designed to teach critical life lessons. Right to Play can turn a relay race into a lesson about math or a football match into a lesson on communication.

WHO LEADS IT? It was founded in 2000 by Johann Olav Koss, a four-time Olympic gold medalist and social entrepreneur, after he witnessed that adversity first hand in refugee camps and developing countries around the world.

HOW HELLO EUROPE IS HELPING: Building on the success in countries like Lebanon and Jordan, Hello Europe helped Right to Play start an operational office in Germany (training over 40 facilitators in the first year), connect with Streetfootball world and other partners, and re-assess their strategy to scale more quickly by focusing on training trainers and teachers rather than only implementing their own programs. In the process. Right to Play has also revamped their methodologies and programs to be prepared for more international expansion.

WHAT THEY NEED NOW: Introductions to different stakeholders who are involved in working with refugees Europe-wide, including schools and networks of associations and citizen sector organizations; potential partner organizations who are interested in collaborating with Right To Play and who see an added value of applying Right To Play’s approach in their daily work with refugees (and host communities); potential donors and supporters.