Portfolio - Sample 2

Excerpt from a grant proposal written for RUH Youth Sports

RUH Youth Sports Foundation

Supporting Human Rights in Afghanistan -

Youth Sports Facility & Transitional Justice Center


The issues (needs): According to population demographics, the nation of Afghanistan is very young. Fifty percent of the current population of Afghanistan is under the age of sixteen and seventy-five percent is under twenty-five. Today's youth in Afghanistan will be responsible for re-building the nation. These young people inherit a country that has been scarred by poverty, years of warfare and a society that is deeply divided across ethnic, socioeconomic and gender lines. As many social aid programs are aimed at adults, there is a great need for social programs targeted at Afghan youth that can help to prepare them for the future-promoting education, civic responsibility, leadership and unity across cultural divisions. Like children the world over, Afghan youth also deserve the space and opportunity for recreation in a safe, positive and fun environment.

At the same time, Afghan women also continue to be in dire need of social support to encourage their education and political empowerment. There is a great demand for programs that support women and girls who have suffered sexual violence and other abuses of basic human rights during war and civil conflict. Violence against women and girls, including abduction, rape and trafficking, is widespread in Afghanistan. Human rights defenders face attack and intimidation because of their role in addressing sexual violence in the country, particularly in areas that are still under Taliban rule. Female victims of such abuse are faced with social stigma and isolation on top of having to live with their trauma. They are in need of supportive, nurturing spaces to share their experiences and build new friendships and communities. The Afghan government's constitution and official policies have outlawed such treatment of women but more must be done to curb such horrific violations of women's basic human rights and bring offenders to justice.

Program Plan Overview: RUH Youth Sports Foundation seeks funding from the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor in the amount of $988,820.00 to establish a sports facility, counseling center and transitional justice center in the Kabul area. Our multi-faceted plans include creating basketball leagues for youth as well as adult men and women, offering group counseling sessions aimed at women who have suffered human rights violations, and providing a forum for transitional justice projects. Our facility will also serve as a community space where locals can gather for festivities and town hall style events.

The basketball leagues: Following the construction of an appropriate sports facility in the Kabul area, adult men and women as well as boys and girls ages 8 to 16 will be invited to participate in three on three basketball leagues where they will learn both the sport and team-building skills. Four American assistant coaches will be hired to recruit players, conduct ethics training and set forth coaching standards.

Why basketball? Basketball is one of the United State's leading cultural exports. While the two most popular sports in Afghanistan remain soccer (football) and cricket, Afghans have embraced basketball in recent years with great enthusiasm. The Afghanistan National Basketball Team won the Gold Medal at the 2010 South Asian Games in Dhaka, Bangladesh in February 2010. This was the first time that the Afghan team took part in and won a championship game at an Olympic sponsored competition. Afghanistan beat India with a score of 65-64. In June 2010, the Afghan Sports Federation's Afghan Basketball League sent four teams to compete at Hoops Arena in Chantilly, Virginia. RUH Youth Sports Foundation would tap into the current interest in basketball in Afghanistan.

While the notion of women and girls playing sports remains controversial, social attitudes have begun to change. Women in Afghanistan now compete in soccer (football), badminton, basketball, taekwondo, and volleyball. With the support of the Iran-based Islamic Federation of Women Sport, female athletes began to represent Afghanistan in Olympic events in 2004. Sports programs for girls have become more commonplace. An Afghan woman, Awista Ayub, founded the Afghan Youth Sports Exchange in 2004 which nurtures girls through soccer. The popularly named "Kabul Girls Soccer Club" now consists of fifteen teams. Just last November, UNICEF established a cricket camp for girls in Jalalabad that has been highly popular. RUH Youth Sports would offer Afghan women and girls another opportunity to learn an increasingly popular American sport.

Some benefits of team sports, such as building physical fitness, are universal. Youth who play sports learn to compete and cooperate with each other and develop skills needed to socialize with their peers and adults. Playing sports affords people of all ages the world over with pure enjoyment as well as a sense of achievement that helps develop a positive self-image. In the course of learning a team sport, young people make decisions and accept responsibility for their actions.

But in Afghanistan, in this particular cultural and political moment, establishing team sports mean much more and involve larger ramifications. There are great psychological benefits of getting involved in sports, especially for people who need a way to cope with the stresses of every day life in a war torn land. Many Afghans lack educational opportunity, live in poverty and have been uprooted from their homes due to war. Participating in a team sport such as basketball would bring some enjoyment to their lives and give them something to look forward to each week. Having a safe place to play in an indoor facility is especially important due to the ongoing threat of landmines.