Page 1


MARCH 2018




Closing the gender gap through football

Bringing the communities together on the football field

Empowering young local leaders, through capacity building programsb

Table of Contents

The Year in Review 2017 was a remarkable year for PlayOnside. We have taken giant leaps as an organization, and we have expanded our reach both internationally and locally. We have gone from four to nine staff, and are now reaching out to more and more children and communities. Our success is a result of a lot of hard work, passion, dedication and a vigorous believe in what we do. PlayOnside is a result of teamwork and respect. Respect for each other and for the communities we work in. We strongly believe that we are capable of achieving greater things when we work together than when we work by ourselves. The legendary Liverpool manager Bill Shankly famously said ‘The socialism I believe in, is everybody working for the same goal and everybody having a share in the rewards. That’s how I see football, that’s how I see life.'” This is how we feel in PlayOnside as well. We Are Football. We Are PlayOnside

Sports & Development Over the past two decades, the ‘Sports for Peace and Development’ field, with its focus on support for vulnerable young people worldwide, has grown into a movement, encompassing numerous organizations and initiatives globally. This encompasses sport in many development settings which are now being included in the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s).

Sports in general, and football in particular is well adapted to address these issues, to improve the physical and mental

health of these children as well of addressing other individual challenges these children are facing. For girls and young females, football can create a space to participate where the opportunities were non-existent, widening the horizons of the Children and youth living in a migrant community are in a precarious position. communities and giving them the Some have experienced the uncertainty, chance to acknowledge the girls. stress and anxiety associated with The role of sports in development, and fleeing from violence, while others are the impact of organizations like struggling with the challenges the PlayOnside, with a long-term, culturally migrant life brings like poverty, adapted, sustainable and inclusive uncertainty about the future, and the program cannot be underestimated.. lack of feeling of belonging.

New PlayOnside Staff We have welcomed five new faces to the PlayOnside-family over 2017. Here you get to know them a bit better.






Zar Nii Win joined the organization in March 2017. She is our highly dedicated football field manager, taking care and maintaining the equipment of PlayOnside. It has been fantastic to work together with Zar Nii Win.b

Seint Phoung Hgeet joined as a part-time coach for PlayOnside in July 2017. He is responsible for coaching three teams, scores and accounting in PlayOnside.

James joined as a part-time coach for PlayOnside in July 2017. He is responsible for coaching two teams, communication with the Thai community, and is showing a great passion and commitment for the work of PlayOnside.

Laura joined as a part-time coach for PlayOnside inbSeptemberb2017.bShebis responsible for coaching three teams, and as the first female coach, she is a great role-model for girls participating in the PlayOnside program.

"Pozo" is from Barcelona, and joined part time as a photographer in November 2017. His shots have been a massive improvement for the visual expression of PlayOnsideb

New PlayOnside Sports Centre

Since late 2016, PlayOnside has been using a land belonging to Mae Tao Clinic for our activities. The field lacked the necessary infrastructure to hold bigger events, with no access to water nor sanitation. The lack of shade, and the lack of storage facilities for equipment, also meant that the site was in dire need for improvements, as there are regularly 300 children participating in our weekend events.

The building is made of local and recycled materials, and contains two changing rooms and a storage room for balls and equipment.

Our friends and partners at Estudio Cavernas, a small, local organization focusing on architecture and vocational training for disadvantaged youth, designed and built a new building for PlayOnside adjacent to the field. Estudio Cavernas philosophy matches ours, as they focus on environmentally friendly design and construction.

The walls are made of rammed earth, an ancient building method consisting of compressed soil. The final result is a beautiful natural building, constructed in a way minimizing the negative environmental effects.

The doors are made of recycled local hardwood, giving them a characteristic look. Here, the Pae Deh Boys team pose in frot of the boys changing room.

In front of the building, facing the football field, there is a shaded benched area, perfect for watching the entertainment on the field. For PlayOnside it is a pleasure to collaborate with an amazing organization like Estudio Cavernas, and in the future, if we will do further field development projects, they are for sure our preferred local partner.

StarFlower - For Equal Opportunity Some of the most marginalized migrant children on the border are children with physical and mental disabilities. As these children demands special attention, and a specialized and individually adapted curriculum, the regular Migrant Learning Centers do not have the capacity nor the experience to deal with these cases. Thus, the Star Flower Special Care Center, is filling the educational gap for children with special needs. Individually customized training is necessary to enable children with disabilities to fulfill their full potential. Another local organization, Stepping Stones Therapy Project, is providing physiotherapy for these children with lifelong neurological conditions. Physical stimuli and activity is imperative for the development of these children.

In February 2017 we started a six weeks pilot program, making a football team with these superstars of Star Flower. Most of them had never played football before, and the different conditions reflected their individual ability levels. Nonetheless, their enthusiasm was mind-blowing from the first training, and when the six weeks of the pilot program had finished, we were never in doubt about the need to extent the program. So now, we will for the foreseeable future, continue with weekly training, providing these children their right to reach their potential. At the moment, 16 children from 7 to 15 years attend the weekly PlayOnside Star Flower training under guidance of Naw Laura Htway.

The Coaching Training is an important part of the philosophy of PlayOnside. Here we can equip local youth with the knowledge about how to use football as an educational tool.

This is from the first of two coaching trainings organized by PlayOnside in 2017. Around 20 local youth participated on a theoretical and practical part of the coaching training.

Crossing the Borders: Summer School in Karen State, Burma As the situation is gradually changing in Burma, more and more organizations are downscaling their activities on the border, to move inside the country. For PlayOnside, this is not a goal, but we are also intrigued about working more “inside�. Our first project across the border was in Karen State in April 2017. Former students at Minmahaw School arranged as summer school in a small

village called Shan Village in Karen State, Burma. We have a close relation with Minmahaw, and were invited to be a part of the summer school. We happily accepted, and Zin Min Naing and Pyae Sone from PlayOnside ran football activities, games and tournaments for two weeks, and it was a great success. In 2018 we are invited back, and we are very excited about this opportunity.

Minmahaw Project The lack of higher educational opportunities both in Burma and along the border for Burmese youth is a big problem. One of the few opportunities for migrant youth in Mae Sot is Minmahaw. Minmahaw is filling this educational gap in an inspiring way, giving opportunities to adolescents showing great motivation and commitment. Minmahaw School is a boarding school offering an intensive English immersion programs for disadvantaged Burmese aged between 17 and 23 years old that have completed compulsory aged education and have demonstrated an outstanding commitment to studies and leadership. The school was originally establish to offer children/grandchildren of political

political prisoners’ preparation courses for universities; however, the objectives of the school have gradually changed over the years. Nevertheless, they still have a clear focus on English skills, and all the communication and all the classes are in English. Over 10 weeks from October to December, PlayOnside held a program about organizational development and sports as a tool for development at the school. The course had a great focus on participation and critical thinking, and the student themselves were responsible for arranging tournaments with a focus on gender equality. 

For PlayOnside this project has been very successful. It has been great to see the students gaining an in-depth understanding about the work of PlayOnside, and also giving us valuable feedback about our program. We look forward to explore and enhance our cooperation with Minmahaw School in the coming years.

The level of critical thinking, and understanding of development work among the Minmahaw students have greatly impressed us. We will hold another course in the first quarter of 2018 with a new batch of students, and Minmahaw is for sure one of the places where PlayOnside will look for young leaders to join the organization in the future.

Javier is the proud owner of a beautiful mango tree!

The Rice Project

Left: Tasanee Keereepraneed is known as "Big Mama", and is responsible for around 60 children living at Safe Haven Orphange. The photo on the right is from Maw Kwee, one of two schools getting rice from PlayOnside every month.

During the last 5 years the Norwegian football club, Vestkysten Sportsklubb has supported and financed rice for several schools, dormitories and one orphanage in the outskirts of Mae Sot. As of January 2017 PlayOnside took over the responsibility of the delivery, so every month we fill the PlayOnside truck with footballs and rice, and take a weekend road trip into the jungle. Access to enough and nutritious food has been a challenge in this area, and as rice is the staple food in the region, and consumed for every meal, it is essential for the children's education and individual growth and development. Free school lunch is also a motivational factor for parents to send their children to school. PlayOnside delivers monthly 30 bags of rice, a total of 1.500 kilos to the Primary Schools Maw Kwee, and Gol La Hay, two dormitories in Noh Bo and Mae Salitt, and to Safe Haven Orphanage in Mae Tawo. For us in PlayOnside the monthly "rice-trips" are a great opportunity to connect with schools and children living in remote areas, and when we visit the Safe Haven Orphanage, we take advantage of the this opportunity to have footballrelated activites and some fun games together with the children living there.

Football & Art

Designing logos together with Kick-Start Art We in PlayOnside always emphasize that football is only a tool, a methodology to reach other goals. The PlayOnside program is as much an educational program as a football program, supplementing the traditional educational curriculum in the Migrant Learning Centers. Another tool also functioning as an educational supplement is art. Thus we teamed together with another NGO in Mae Sot called Kick-Start Art, to find out how we can work together

to combine art and football together as an educational tools. Studies show that art helps children understand other subjects much more clearly—from math and science, to language, arts and geography. Early exposure to visual art, music, or drama promotes activity in the brain and nurtures inventiveness as it engages children in a process that aids in the development of self-esteem, self-discipline, cooperation, and selfmotivation.


As a first pilot project of many collaborative projects between KickStart Art and PlayOnside, we created individual logos for the different teams participating in the PlayOnside Rainy Season Tournament. The children at the different schools discussed what represented their team, and their school. By being inspired by different logos from other football teams, the students together with Kick-Start Art first interpreted the meanings of the different logos, and then created their own. After all the children had the chance to use their creativity and learning new drawing techniques, they chose one logo to represent their schools football team.

The logos where printed on the team’s uniforms, and the players were very excited to wear them for the Rainy Season Tournament. All in all, this was a great collective project combining art and football for educational purposes.


Coaching Training 2017

The Coaching Training is an important part of the philosophy of PlayOnside. Here we can equip local youth with the knowledge about how to use football as an educational tool.

This is from the first of two coaching trainings organized by PlayOnside in 2017. Around 20 local youth participated on a theoretical and practical part of the coaching training.

One of the main priorities of PlayOnside is our Capacity Building Program. The objective is to give young local leaders who show passion, initiative and interest, the opportunity to develop their football coaching skills. These courses are developedtogether with our partners at Premier Football Academy – Bangkok and International Football Education - two long-term partners of PlayOnside. The goal is to promote good local rolemodels who can take responsibility and become a coach and a leader for a team. We put a lot of focus on the social role of the coach. A football coach does more than just teaching the children how to kick the ball.

He or she has to be a team builder, a motivator and an excellent communicator. The coach has to be a person the children can come to with their concerns, and function as a bridge between the school and the parents. Every child is different and every child has individual needs for comfort, encouragement and feedback. For PlayOnside the “soft skills” of the coach are of greater importance than the theoretical football coaching skills. In the 2017, we arranged two different Capacity Building Programs. The first course we did by ourselves, while the second one was a part of the annual Esperança football camp, a joint event with our partners from the

Bangkok-based football program Premier Football Academy (PFA). PFA is a professional football academy focusing on development of talented Thai youth. Their approach differs a bit from ours, as we do not have football skills improvement as our main objective. Nevertheless, it was very useful for PlayOnside our local coaches, and our potential new colleagues to get professional feedback on the technical and tactical aspects of coaching football. 28 young local leaders completed the courses, and this is an important part of the capacity building program. By equipping the coaches with the necessary tools to hold quality football training, these youngsters will grow as role models and leaders in their local communities in the years to come.



This is from the first of two coaching trainings organized by PlayOnside in 2017. Around 20 local youth participated on a theoretical and practical part of the coaching training.

Peace Ball Peace Ball Action – Thailand (PBA) has been a long-term partner of PlayOnside. The Japanese professional football player, Daiki Higuchi, runs PBA. Daiki’s passion for football and for sport as a catalyst for development has brought him to Mae Sot every year for three years, to visit PlayOnside, and our partners at Help Without Frontiers to arrange the PBA Tournament. It is always a pleasure to have PBA visiting. In 2017, we decided to do things a bit differently than previous years. Instead of a big tournament, we held a two-day integration clinic, for teams and schools who are rather new in the

Action Thailand PlayOnside program. Daiki also got to see the PlayOnside sport center he helped financing, and got to visit several schools and learning centers in the area. We are very grateful for the longterm support Peace Ball Action is showing to the PlayOnside program, and are looking forward to his annual visits to Mae Sot, and for him to take part of the development of our organization in the future.

Mae Sot Tree Planting Project One of the most important aspects of the PlayOnside program is the educational aspect of it. Different topics, like health, leadership and environmental awareness are incorporated into the football program. This way, football functions as a tool for empowerment, knowledge and awareness. Hence, the main theme of Earth Day 2017 of “Environmental and Climate Literacy�, fitted perfectly with the PlayOnside curriculum, and we used the occasion to kick-start a fundraising campaign to raise money making our football field a green oasis.

With access to an abundance of our own healthy and nutritious fruits, for years to come, the sustainability of the program increases. By planting fruit trees around the football field, we have access to healthy, nutritious and organic fruit all year round. The goal of the event was not merely to plant trees, raise awareness and to increase the selfsufficiency of the PlayOnside program, but also to bring the whole Mae Sot community together, focusing on an important and common cause that affects us all. By bringing the hostmigrant- and expatriate communities together, we can learn more about each other and understand the different challenges we face.

For PlayOnside, the educational aspect of this event was very important. The children participating in the PlayOnside program are now responsible for watering, maintaining, and harvesting – learning about ecological agriculture and selfsufficiency by participating themselves, and gaining ownership to the trees. We can use the fruits of the trees to continue to focus on healthy food, and the positive benefits of a balanced diet.

The northern regions are at a greater risk of deforestation due to lack of government regulation over resource extraction. Despite these unfortunate circumstances, there has been a movement of environmentally conscious advocates pushing forward a national agenda of forest rehabilitation to preserve and restore forests. By planting trees, having discussion groups of the positive environmental effect trees have, PlayOnside hope to create environmental awareness and engagement for new generations.

The surroundings of the field are harsh and barren. In the hot season, the area is dry and inhospitable. In the rainy season, surface water makes the floods the area, risking soil erosion. The fruit trees will function as a natural filter rapidly absorbing surface water, and are well adapted to survive the drier periods. The shades of the trees will be a welcome escape for the children waiting, eagerly anticipating the next match. Another relevant educational topic is deforestation. Deforestation is a serious problem in South-East Asia. According to a report on Thailand from the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), 43% of forests were lost between 1973 and 2009.  

Rainy Season Tournament PlayOnside arranges two yearly tournaments. From July to September it is time for the Rainy Season Tournament. 2016 was the first time we arranged this competition with 17 teams from 7 different schools participating. In 2017 we had 53 teams from 22 different schools – a massive increase, and a sign of the big steps PlayOnside has taken over the last year, and our ever-increasing popularity within the migrant communities. Growth in numbers is not necessarily a goal in itself, but now the schools are coming to us requesting to join, a big change from the way it used to be, where we approached the schools to convince them to join our program. With many new teams whom had never played football before, we used the weeks leading up to the tournament to arrange friendly games. This way the players and the coaches get used to the concept, and these games were important for the schools and children to get to know each other, and lowering the competitiveness. This was a very successful approach, and it had a very good effect on key elements as fair play, tolerance and respect during the Rainy Season Tournament.

Every weekend over 10 weeks, more than 700 children participated. Such a big event is a logistical challenge for a small organization like PlayOnside. In addition, with only two fields at our disposal, and the schools spread over a vast geographical area, the cost of transportation took a major chunk of our budgets. Regardless of the challenges during the tournament, we can look back at it now, and conclude it was a highly successful event, and that PlayOnside has matured a lot as an organization. The feedback from the schools, teachers and players have been great, and we have systematically evaluated the feedback, to make further improvements for future events. PlayOnside does not put a lot of emphasis on who wins. However, for the schools and players this is important. So our job is to facilitate for social inclusion, and emphasis and promote what we regard as the most important elements of a competition like this; Fair Play, tolerance, making new friends, showing respect for each other, and of course having a lot of fun along the way!

Mingalabar Mae Sot League 2017/18 Wherever you go in Mae Sot, you will hear the word Mingalabar! It is a Burmese greeting, meaning "Hello". In 2016/17, we arranged the first edition of this tournament, at the time the biggest event PlayOnside had ever organized. The 2017/18 edition of the tournament had even more teams and more players from different schools. The tournament lasted from the end of November to the middle of February, with a magnificent closing ceremony 17 February. Over the years, we have developed a close relationship with the different schools and the PlayOnside program and the PlayOnside philosophy is now an integral part of most of the migrant learning centers. Mutual respect and understanding between PlayOnside and the teachers and headmasters at the schools is important for us to succeed.

After every game we held discussion groups sharing a plate of fruit with the teams involved. This is to promote discussion, get feedback and to reduce the tension and competitiveness, so we can focus on fair play and respect for each other.

A new element of this tournament was the PlayOnside life skill program. This time, the teams did not only get scores for how they performed on the field, but also how they behaved off the field. The idea before the start was to introduce different topics every week, but we saw after just one week that we needed to spend more time on the different topics.

For the first couple of weeks the topic was environmental awareness. Garbage pollution and plastic in particular is a major problem, not only in Thailand, but also in Southeast Asia in general. Its availability and lack of knowledge about its negative environmental effect if not disposed in a proper and safe way, is something we have worked a lot on. We always strive to find alternative solutions to one-time plastic. We spend time on educating the children on the differences between organic and non-organic waste, explaining how one could be a resource for the local communities, while the other is posing environmental hazards.

The long-term focus on environmental awareness was a great improvement of our program, and we will continue to use the power of football to educate the players on different environmental topics in the future. Another aspect of the life skill curriculum was leadership. We discussed about what characterizes a good leader, what is positive leadership on the football field and what is the difference between leadership and management. Most of the players got the opportunity to be a team captain, taking responsibility for their team and their teammates. That everyone can aspire to be a leader, and it is not only the oldest girls or boys who can captain the team was a revelation for many of the children.

Also for this tournament, we emphasized a lot on equal opportunities. For PlayOnside, equal opportunity means equal opportunity to all the children to play, and not only the best ones. Sometimes, when there is a competition and a prize at the end for the winner, it is easy to forget that everybody should play, and it is not only about winning. For the schools whom have been a part of the PlayOnside program for a long time, this comes very natural. For some of the new schools, we have to continue to work and promote the concept of equal opportunity to participate. In general the introduction of the life skill curriculum was a great success, and we will over the coming tournaments continue to introduce new elements to the life-skill curriculum. Because football is about so much more than just football!

Footsteps of the 21st Generation “Jóvenes Emprendedores Sociales” (Young Social Entrepreneurs) is a Spanish educational project promoting students entrepreneurship and collaboration between students in Spain and students in the “developing world.” PlayOnside selected nine local students from our program to participate. The objective is to create an organization addressing a challenge faced by the local community. The first step was to research and identify needs and present them to the rest of the group, before together selecting a project. Then the students had to create the NGO, the name and the logo and writing the statutes, doing research about the cost and sending the final proposal to their peers in Spain. The role of the Spanish students is to create an NGO in Spain, and do fundraising activities, financing the local project here on the border. The communication between the groups was by e-mail and Skype, a great opportunity for both groups to share their experiences, to learn from each other and to have the chance to meet students that live that far away. The final project consist in a close collaboration between “21st Generation of Footsteps” (Mae Sot) and “Pasos Hacia Tailandia” (Spain) to provide stationary and equipment to two schools in Mae Sot. Those schools are selected because they have a lack of financial support from other organizations. The project is still ongoing, and the implementation will be carried out in June 2018.

Bringing football and art to marginalized communities Although it has been a significant improvement in the migrant children enrollment in Thailand over the last decade, lack of educational opportunities is still a significant problem for refugees and migrant children. According to a policy briefing report from Save the Children and World Education in 2015, there are around 200.000 migrant children in Thailand without access to education. Mae Sots proximity to the border and its significant migrant population makes this a serious crisis in the city, with approximately 23% of migrant children out of school.

Enrollment to regular schools is of course the best solution to this crisis, but in the meantime, PlayOnside decided to collaborate with Kick-Start Art, another local organization to bring alternative education to these children. We believe that implemented correctly, sports and art can be powerful educational tools. As PlayOnside has grown as an organization, we have the resources to not only work with the schools, but also work in the communities. This is a new approach for us, and much more challenging. Migrants often live unstable life, with a lack of certainty when it comes to future income and place to live. Many of them work as day-workers in the agricultural industries, or as day laborers in factories or in the informal sector. Often the children have to help their parents, either at work, or with domestic duties. Regularity of PlayOnside and our partners, that we show up on regular times to provide our activities is therefore of big importance. The project has been a great success so far, and we will continue to provide alternative education through football for out of schoolchildren in the future.

Financial Report

Comments to the Statement of Income - Operating Revenue: All numbers are in Thai Baht. Over the course of 2017, we sixfolded our income, compared to 2016. A couple of significant private donations from Vidar Moe and Trond Mohn, raised our yearly income drastically. We also saw an increase in project-based income and incomes from different events. We expect a lower overall operating revenue in 2018.

All numbers are in Thai Baht B aht As we expanded the program over 2017, also our operating expeses increased accordingly. By the end of 2017, we are 9 paid staff within the organization. We estimate that around 1 full time position is an administrative position, and this is reflected in the administrative cost of 2017 and the budget for 2018. One major cost in 2017 was the building of the football field at Mae Tao Clinic. We expect to keep the overall expenses at the same level in 2018 as in 2017.

As we get the majority of our income in Euros and Norwegian kroner, while our expenses are in Thai Baht, we are vulnerable for fluctuations in the exchange rate. at the end of the year, it was a small net overall exchange rate appreciation Other financial costs include visa-fees and transfering cost.

The significant increase in revenue in 2017, puts PlayOnside in healthy financial position going into 2018. This is great news for us as it gives is the flexibility to plan ahead, expanding the reach and improving the quality of our program. However, we do recognize that the a significant portion of the income generated in 2017, are not to be expected to be repeated, so we need to still plan carefully about how and where we send our money. For 2018, we budget an overall deficit of approximately 180.000 Thai Baht.

Most of our assets are "Bank Deposit" in our different bank accounts. Other assets of PlayOnside, consist mostly of 60% of the PlayOnside pick-up truck.

Our Future Is Now

2018 will be a year full of football and smiles. PlayOnside will expand its reach cross-border, and continue to strengthen its network with other local organizations to provide quality alternative education to migrant children on the border.

Plans for 2018 As mentioned in the introduction, PlayOnside has grown to be one of the most influential sports organizations on the Thai-Burma border. The way we are welcomed and appreciated in our local communities is overwhelming, and it shows that we are filling a much needed gap in the communities with our program. We are looking forward to expanding and improving the program in 2018. In the second quarter of 2018, we will do some cross-border projects in Karen State, and this might be the first small steps of expanding to Burma. Burma is opening up and changing rapidly, but as long as there are migrant learning centers in Mae Sot,

and children enjoying playing football, we will have our program running here. We feel that around 20-25 schools are the maximum numbers of schools we can have in our program, without reducing the quality. If we are to further expand, we need more staff, and for that we need long-term financial backing. We are always careful not to take on project we feel we can’t commit to 100%. We will in 2018, as we did in 2017 focus on quality over quantity. The future ure of PlayOnside looks bright.

PlayOnside Annual Report 2017  
PlayOnside Annual Report 2017  

Read about PlayOnsides different programs and activities in 2017 on the Thai/Burma border