Sports providing a platform for peaceful co-existence
Did you watch the closing ceremonies of the just ended FIFA World Cup? It brought tears to my eyes. Why? Because for some minutes i forgot about everything else and was amazed at the amazing display of technology, teamwork and culture. But mostly i was blown away by how the world became one just for those minutes. How everyone was able to take it all in and enjoy the moment. And then of course the age old question kept ringing in my head: "Why cant we all just get along?"
Which brings me to the matter at hand. The world cup was an excellent avenue to advocate for an end to gender based violence as evidenced by the many initiatives that used that platform to advocate their causes.
Sports has the ability to hold people's attention and interest.Sports teaches useful values and can be used as an avenue to pass on the message of ending gender based violence.
In our sports programmes which are a result of a collaboration between Empowering Women for Excellence Initiative and Generations for Peace, we bring people from different sides of conflict divides together and teach them values like teamwork, respect and tolerance. A lot of our work has focused on gender divides and integrating a better playing field for both girls and boys to play and work together.
A boy who sees a girl as an equal partner on the sports field is less likely to beat that girl up when they are back at home. A boy who sees a girl as a team member would be more willing to talk about their differences rather than find a way to ambush her when its late at night in a dark corner.
If they both realize they have a common goal then each member is committed to the well being of his/her team members. In using sports for conflict resolution and peace building, emphasis must be given to the elements of the sports that are tend towards peace building, rather than competition.
What are your thoughts on this?