This peace programme in the borderlands of South Sudan, Uganda and Kenya uses sports to bring together rivalling groups and break the cycle of violence.
Peace & Sports started out as a pilot programme, when South Sudanese Bishop Paride Taban contacted peace organisation PAX in 2005. Taban wanted to develop a peace programme targeting young warriors from pastoralist tribes in the borderlands of South Sudan, Uganda and Kenya.
Young men raid cattle as a way of attaining status. A successful raid is traditionally marked with a big celebration upon their return home. With the increasing prevalence of modern weaponry such as Kalashnikovs in the region, this custom has led to an explosion of violence, with many casualties.
The Peace & Sports programme tries to unite rivalling parties by providing competition in sports as an alternative to actual violence. Together with local partner organisations, PAX has turned young warriors into sport leaders and young educated men into Peace and Sports Facilitators (PSF's). Also, peace gatherings and cross-border peace tournaments have been organised.
This pilot, similar to the current peace programme, focuses on conflict prevention, resolution and transformation, so that people can live together peacefully in this region. Young peace workers are enabled to contribute to the local peace process and development in this marginalised area. With the assistance of PAX a network of local peace organisations has been established over the years. Partners closely collaborate beyond internal and international borders and are expanding their geographical scope, which requires further support.
Peace & Sports is founded and coordinated by PAX, together with Seeds Of Peace Africa (SOPA) and local partners in Uganda (Karamoja), South Sudan (Eastern Equatoria) and Kenya (Turkana).
We work with Amnesty International in two places in Uganda. In Karamoja we work on a project intended to make people more aware of human rights; in Northern Uganda we work on a land conflict programme.
Our partners engage in restoring trust and cooperation between local communities, traditional decision structures and modern government.
Partners, including churches, have established a cross-border peace network. We support this project.
We work on conflict prevention, conflict resolution and ways to live together in peace. In doing so, we support young peace workers.
We organise various events, such as peace meetings and cross border peace tournaments. We support traditional endeavours for reconciliation and community building.
We have trained young warriors to become sport leaders and taught young men to become peace and sports facilitators
PAX has worked in this area since early 2000. It works with civil society organisations to support long-term peace dialogue and conflict transformation. PAX commissioned Jist films to make Seeds of Peace in Africa and NSA International to make a documentary about the lives of nomads in the borderlands. Prince Albert II of Monaco nominated Peace Beyond Borders for the special peace and sports jury award in Monaco. PAX sees this as a recognition of its work. See also: peacebeyondborders.nl