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"Kids on the beach paying soccer in Popenguine" | Jeff Juszczak (CC BY-NC 2.0).

On April 1, the Wallonia-Brussels Federation and Senegal ratified the bilateral cooperation program for the years 2021-2025. It includes an important section devoted to youth and, for the first time, to sport, with a view to reinforcing training and support for young Senegalese footballers in precarious situations. The aim is to promote their integration into professional clubs as well as their professional integration.

This project, which is supported by the International Academy KN/Foot-Etudes-Formations-Métiers of Fatick (central Senegal), and the Brussels non-profit organisations Friendly Foot, STICS, FETA as well as the youth school of the Union St Gilloise and Fan Coaching of Liège, will be accompanied by Wallonie-Bruxelles International and the General Delegation of Wallonie-Bruxelles in Dakar. On the Senegalese side, two partners are involved in the project: the departmental council of Fatick and the commune of Fimela in the Saloum region.

The joint project aims to strengthen training and support for disadvantaged young Senegalese footballers in order to promote their integration into the major clubs and their professional integration.

One of the objectives is also to put an end to the exodus of young Senegalese sports talents in precarious conditions and to contribute to a concerted training and professional mobility and to avoid the tragedies of irregular immigration.

The young beneficiaries will find a socio-professional integration either in football or in one of its related professions in Senegal (physical trainer, coach, referee, fitness instructor or others). The project also aims to strengthen the KN Academy's teaching staff in management and leadership skills in the fields of sport and social economy.

Through this initiative and with the support of Wallonia Brussels International and its partners, lawyer Papa Khaly Niang, the driving force behind the project and former Director General of the Senegalese Agency Assistance to Close Security (ASP), aims to "make this very innovative project available to Senegalese youth, which is in line with the youth employment programme and the development of professional football in Senegal."

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