Tackling displacement and supporting refugees through sport: A digital solution
Sport has been recognized by the Global Compact on Refugees (GCR) as an important tool to foster social development, inclusion, cohesion and wellbeing of refugees.
The Peace and Sport methodology has been developed over 10 years of experience in the field. It proposes a set of activities to work on values related to the culture of peace, through sport. This innovative methodology is available through a mobile app, developed by Peace and Sport, in cooperation with My Coach, the French leader in sport technology. The widespread accessibility to mobile phones, even among refugees and displaced persons, played an important role in defining the need of a digital tool to implement the methodology.
The “Peace and Sport by My Coach” app provides peace educators a reliable, modern, and easy-to-use platform to collect quantitative and qualitative data on participants’ progressions regarding positive values, and guarantees effective and accurate monitoring and evaluation of each program.
The Peace and Sport Methodology is currently implemented in the “Live Together” program in Zatari refugee camp, Jordan. This incubator program was launched by Peace and Sport in 2017, following a global partnership signed with UNHCR. It involves various stakeholders and aims to address three main social issues, through the medium of sport:
- Marginalisation and disengagement
- Psychosocial distress characterized by aggressiveness, lack of self-confidence, discipline and trust in others
- Sense of exclusion/isolation and rejection by the host society
The refugee coaches leading the activities were trained and supported by the International Federations of Table Tennis (ITTF), Kickboxing (WAKO) and Teqball (FITEQ).
Using the Peace and Sport methodology, these social issues are addressed through daily sports activities, implemented with around 300 children through sessions structured around a warm-up, technical exercises, and cool down. Each session focuses on peace-related values such as self-confidence, respect and living together.
The feedback of the refugee coaches has been valuable in improving the content of the methodology. Together with the UNHCR and Blumont, its implementation partner in Zatari, they played an important role in defining the local cultural requirements and in providing solutions on how to adjust the methodology according to the specific context that sees the beneficiaries dealing with post-war trauma and displacement.
So far, the implementation of the methodology in the “Live Together” program has achieved the following results:
- Over 170 Syrian refugees attended official coaching seminars run by International Sports Federations’ experts
- Seven refugees have been selected to become coaches, and now benefit from a stable job within Zatari refugee camp
- More than 300 kids benefit from the daily training sessions based on the Peace and Sport methodology
- The feeling of marginalisation is reduced because of the sports, which provide the refugees the opportunity to take part in activities that support their personal development and protection
- Disengagement is also reduced due to the responsibilities assigned to the coaches toward the development of their communities through sport
- The physical and emotional wellbeing of the refugees has improved due to the physical activity and values transmitted through sport
In accordance with the multi-stakeholder and partnership approach encouraged by the GCR, Peace and Sport has joined a coalition of more than 70 sport organizations that submitted pledges to the Global Refugee Forum, coordinated by the IOC and the Olympic Refugee Foundation.
Through the implementation of the Peace and Sport methodology using the new app, Peace and Sport will globally contribute to the achievement of the sport coalition pledge which aims to increase availability and access to organized sports and sport-based initiatives for refugee and hosting communities.
Peace and Sport is an international, neutral and independent organization based in Monaco, which promotes peace using the power of sport. Founded in 2007 by Modern Pentathlon Olympic medallist and World Champion Joel Bouzou, Peace and Sport enjoys the High Patronage of H.S.H. Prince Albert II of Monaco.