Knut Ove Børseth

Ashoka Fellow
Ler, Norway, Europe
Fellow Since 2016

Citation

This profile was prepared when Knut Ove Børseth was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2016.
The New Idea
Knut Ove founded Drive for Life in 2011 to engage troubled youth, otherwise at risk of dropping out of school, through an empowering team framework using adrenaline-filled sports where young participants get to choose their activities, set their own team rules and build a supporting peer-community. By providing a safe space for teenagers to experience a legal high, Knut Ove succeeds in attracting hard to reach youth, while preventing them from seeking that thrill elsewhere. Drive for Life’s programs seeks to promote renewed motivation and building vital life skills.

The use of adrenaline-filled sport works as a gateway to the core of Drive for Life’s programs: a robust community with teams at the centre, combined with a systemized methodology seeking to allow youth to become productive members of society. When entering a Drive for Life program, each person gets introduced to a social network, a safe yet exploring space, with strict structures and pride. An approach seeking to prevent crime and other anti-social behaviour, while supporting the participants in school and preparing for a future where they stand stable at the centre, rather than on the outside of society.

Drive for Life’s methodology is tailored to each participants’ journey and creates new interactions between local sports clubs, schools, parents, child service, businesses and role models, in ways previously missing. Knut Ove mainly works with children who are about to, or already part of, government services. Focusing on those who others perceive as troublemakers, he creates an engaging way for the participants to constructively interact with their surroundings through the program. Hence, Drive for Life effectively shifts the perception of dropouts in a more positive direction, highlighting their potential and willingness to actively be part of and contribute to society.

While the goal is to prevent school dropout and thus the risk for long-term exclusion from society, it goes further to empower the participants by offering ways of continuous involvement beyond the program. Already, the model is scaling and are currently establishing in neighbouring countries, recognized as new and unexpected yet effective way to engage those others have failed to reach for decades.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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