Players learn about conflict resolution before taking to the pitch
Akope Caroline Aisu, from Right To Play (RTP), in Uganda, is running the morning sessions for all participants of East Africa Cup 2012, with the belief that “Bearing in mind there are different cultures and countries here, we are ensuring participants know about leadership and conflict and about playing with a purpose. We need to promote one Africa."
She continues to describe "African people are close to their own country, so in these sessions, it shows children that despite where you are from, you ar not limited to friends in one group. It is important to promote friendships across African countries."
Using games to illustrate identity
"Children are easily drawn into conflict, whether it is through tribalism or conflicts on the field, children hold grudges for a long time, so it is important that we teach them how to resolve them. We have open discussions about how they have been affected by conflict and use this as the background as how we can resolve disputes," said Akope.
The impact of war and sport
On the impact the EAC has made to teams from countries previously affected by civil war, she draws attention to the Burundi sitting volleyball team, which comprises of both disabled and able bodied athletes. "The impact is very positive, especially in Burundi, where the sitting volleyball team got their first experience of being a national team competing in an international tournament. It is especially important for children with disabilities to feel motivated and part of the community.
As players develop communication skills through sport, games and play, the impact on how children from post-war countries and other countries has been interesting to see, especially in this environement.
Since yesterday, I have found many to have fear, but through this kind of workshop, we see how mis-communication can create tention, whether it was meant or not," she said.
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