Right to Play identifies pressing social issues affecting young people and develops games and teaching methodologies to address them. Each activity is developed with the ultimate goal of bringing about behavioral change among participants as well as coaches. All games contain elements that contribute to knowledge building, resulting in new perspectives on social problems and their solutions. Furthermore, the games are participatory in nature, and thus work off the principle of reflect-connect-apply.
Right to Play has developed a delivery model focused on capacity building that is easily adaptable to local communities. It has a four-tiered triangular model, with children forming the broad base and the program staff forming the three higher levels, with each level of the triangle serving as mentor and coach to the level below. For example, project coordinators are responsible for leadership training of supervisors who are in turn responsible for the training of coaches and teachers at the level below. Leadership is thus developed in a step-by-step manner.
Johann also advocates for decentralization, and as such, Right to Play has opened offices in 23 countries, forming close connections with the communities served. They have grown from delivering two programs in 2001 to 500 staff operating in 30 countries in 2009. As of today, more than 1,200 trainers of coaches are present in 23 countries, where 13,000 coaches have been trained; 600,000 children participate in Right to Play programming twice a week; and 400,000 children have participated in sport camps and festivals. Moreover, 35 percent of these children live in refugee camps where very few opportunities are available, and half of the participants, including both coaches and children, are women and girls.
After years of running grassroots programs, Right to Play expanded to global policy, embarking on a four-year policy initiative in 2004 aimed at promoting policy recommendations for the integration of sport and physical activity into national and international development priorities. In addition to developing a policy paper based on the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, Johann also organized a conference in Ghana on policy changes that 43 countries participated in. He is also creating an initiative that will act as an advisory to different governments to review their school and sports programs.
In August 2009, Johann will have a final report, and 59 countries are expected to sign a declaration to include sport in their education policy. This document will recognize sports and the Right to Play methodology as programmatic tools to reach the Millennium Development Goals. The report comprises 40 cross-sector recommendations and 120 direct recommendations to governments.
Right to Play intends to collaborate and partner with other organizations with similar goals in order to make it easier to secure strategic funding. It is striving to establish itself as the industry leader, develop best practices and provide a delivery model to other organizations. Johann is also currently planning to spread his activities to Latin America.