Opportunity Project: traditional games in Portugal

Project meeting in Portugal

In April, as an expert of the Institute for Development of Sport and Education (IRSiE), in the Portuguese city of Coimbra, I participated in transnational project meeting as a part of the Project Opportunity: fostering social inclusion and gender equality in formal and informal educational contexts through applying traditional sports and games.

The meeting started with the signing of the Institutional Protocol between the Arganil City Council, the European Traditional Sports and Games Association (ETSGA/AEJeST) and the Portuguese Traditional Games Federation.

Then, the President of AEJeST, Pere Lavega, gave a presentation on traditional games and sports in physical education.

The next activity was a workshop meeting of the Project participants, during which several issues were raised, such as:

  • presentation on the Traditional Games Festival, which the project participants visited the next day (Multiplier Sport Event),
  • work on questionnaires concerning the social integration of people with disabilities (CATCH) and gender equality (NATGEN), filled in by several hundred participants during the above-mentioned Festival,
  • a web application, manuals, describing traditional games and their adaptation for the needs of the Project, and an open online course (MOOC) on traditional games in the context of social integration and gender equality,
  • next project meeting in September this year in Verona,
  • project management.

Second day of the meeting

On the second day of the project meeting in Portugal, participants took part in several interesting events:

  • 17th edition of the Lousa and Vilarinho Parish Games in Lousa – a festival of traditional games, attended by several hundred participants – children and teenagers from nearby schools, adults, including people with intellectual and physical disabilities, and a large group of elderly people,
  • presentation of the assumptions of the “Opportunity” Project and its important tool – a web application – at the Vocational School in Lousa,
  • signing of protocols on mutual cooperation between the Parish Council of Lousa and Vilarinho,
    the European Traditional Sports and Games Association (AEJeST) and the Lousa School Group.

The Lousa Traditional Games Festival was one of the important practical events of the “Opportunity” project.

Thanks to the participation in traditional games of a very large and diverse group of participants in terms of gender, age, fitness level and ethnic origins, the main assumptions of the Project were achieved – social integration of disabled people and gender equality through participation in traditional games.

There will be a separate article about the Lousa Festival soon.

Additionally, many participants completed questionnaires on social inclusion, gender equality and the emotions they felt before and after the game. The results will be analyzed. Scientific and practical conclusions will be drawn regarding the suitability of traditional games for social integration and gender equality in sport.

Visiting the University of Coimbra

The next day, at the end of the project, the participants visited one of the oldest universities in the world – the University of Coimbra – the seat of the Host of the meeting in Portugal and the Partner of the “Opportunity” Project.

Festival of traditional games in Lousa
Project Partners from Croatia and Tunisia, playing traditional games
Traditional games festival in Lousa

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