Webinar recap: ‘Covid-19 – or when control and planning are overrated’


Maria Malyshkina, ISCA

As we have all learned over the past year, planning and having things under control can be very hard during a pandemic. Is it possible to adapt and do your activities in a safe way? What are the challenges and potential solutions for refugees and the organisations that work with them when it comes to community sport and physical activity? We discussed these questions in the first of ISCA’s networking webinars for the Integration of Refugees Through Sport (IRTS) Networking Platform devoted to the topic “COVID-19 – or when control and planning are overrated”.

The webinar on 17 March aimed to connect organisations working with refugees and showcase good examples of organisations and clubs that have adapted and delivered their activities in a safe way. It started with an introductory panel discussion followed by discussions in smaller groups.

One of the panellists was Katerina Salta from the International Olympic Truce Centre (Greece) who talked about her experience working with the Hestia FC initiative, the first refugee and migrant women’s football team in Greece. Having to face challenges such as lack of communication between the government and the refugees when new restrictions were announced, Katerina says it is crucial for organisations working with refugees to keep engaged with the refugees and stand by them especially now that their life situation has become even more fragile than before the pandemic. 

Benjamin Renauld from Belgium represented Royal Europa 90 Kraainem Football Club (Kraainem FC), a multicultural club providing activities for people coming from more than 40 different nations. The club not only provides football training, but also additional activities like language courses and conversation classes. Among the challenges faced by the club during the pandemic was dealing with the fast evolving measures, including the need to separate people into different playing teams instead of the usual full group. Benjamin talked about how quickly the organisation adapted to the new rules and what had to be changed in the decision-making process to become more effective with integration through sport.

In the second part of the webinar we had dynamic discussions in smaller groups, where all the webinar participants had an opportunity to share their experiences and learn from others. We discussed challenges faced, solutions found and lessons learned from the pandemic experience, which were then summarised by group facilitators from ISCA.

The full version of this webinar can be found here and on our Facebook page, where we stream our webinars live. Don’t forget to tune in next time as we will hold more networking webinars, so SAVE THE DATES below and sign up to our newsletter for registration updates or follow our news here

Coming up next in 2021: 

Never stop learning!
The second webinar will focus on sharing good practices and know-how on implementing training for staff, trainers and refugees, focusing on tools and examples.
12 May 13.00 – 14.30 CET

Step up with refugees!
Refugees need to be included and involved in activities as protagonists. Being proactive in sport can also help refugees gain various skills that can later contribute to their employment, education or training; therefore, we’d also like to showcase examples of that.
23 June 13.00 – 14.30 CET

Include everyone!
Among refugees there are various target groups that need different approaches. We’d like to share examples of involving female refugees, children, families, refugees with disabilities/special needs, LGBQTI, seniors, etc. in community sport.
15 September 13.00 – 14.30 CET

Work together for a bigger impact!
Collaboration and cooperation between different organisations, clubs, local authorities, schools and other stakeholders is important and can make a bigger impact on the target group as well as the local setting. We’d like to showcase examples of how that can be done.
10 November 13.00 – 14.30 CET

Registration will open 2 weeks before the webinars. 
If you have any questions or would like more information about the webinars or IRTS online learning, feel free to contact Monika Resetar mr@isca-web.org