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?

Take action! This post was submitted in response to Ending Gender-Based Violence.


what a great idea. Using sports to bring peace would be an amazing platform furthermore, since tnghe World Cup connected so many people the messaged of ending GBV would touch a huge audience. What other avenues can you think of that would a good outlet to place importance on GBV?

Yes Carri, Sports in an invaluable tool in spreading the word about GBV and eradicating it. Possibly another avenue would be somehow introducing it into school curricula. Another way is the formation of clubs for both in and out of school children like we seek to do with our Know and Say No project.

Safiya Ibn Garba www.ewei.wetpaint.com

Hi Safia,

It sounds like that you use sports as a tool to teach respect, teamwork and tolerance, which I think is a great idea and from my experience, it works! In your journal entry, you talked about how a boy sees a girl differently after playing sports together. I am curious to know how a girl sees the world differently or use her skills to navigate the world differently after being involved with sports from your experience. Would you mind sharing?



Miho Aida

Sure Miho.

If you check out our site youll see reports from the Monitoring and Evaulation of our programmes in particular but on a general note, we have seen girls take up more leadership responsibilities and have greater self esteem from being involved in such programmes.Sports is such a powerful tool that can be used to teach so many life skills and when girls are given opportunities they are more likely to be further motivated to pursue other aspirations as well.

Safiya Ibn Garba www.ewei.wetpaint.com

Thanks for that initiative. Here some experiences: At Right to Play www.righttoplay.com we have used sports in order to fight the violence in Refugee camps in Africa. We have taught refugees (male and female) in how to teach sports to youth and children. The women sports for peace coaches had been a model for the women in the camp, because it is not accepted in some African cultures that women are practising sports. In India with the NGO Prajna Foundation for Cultural Interactions and Studies (Delhi) we have trained social workers - especially women - as sports for all coaches. They had offered a regular sports training in the slums, in order to bring children and youth to go to school!! It worked fantastic. In the Rwenzori mountains in Uganda (Kabarole Research and Resource Centre, KRC http://www.krc.or.ug/) we had trained sports for peace coaches in order to train the youth in the boarder region to Congo. This youth is really forgetten - no jobs, no school, no perspective. For rebels it is too easy to recruit them. But with the sports programme, some of them found a way back into normal life.