Sports for Peace - Example: Sports for Peace Programme in Mindanao, Philippines
The concept of Sports for Peace was introduced to the Island of Mindanao, Philippines as an alternative approach to conflict transformation and peace building by the GTZ supported “Poverty Reduction and Conflict Transformation” (PRCT) Project team. It was tested in four regions in Mindanao.
After selecting the schools, the next step involved training the teachers for them to become effective trainers. The trainers/teachers were introduced to conflict sensitive approaches of dealing with the ongoing conflict. At the same time they were prepared for their assigned tasks in the Sports for Peace event. The whole team including the teachers/trainers involved in the preparation for the event embarked on developing peaceful and open atmosphere so that the students would feel comfortable and could concentrate on the programme. During the Sports for Peace programme, in preparation and for the actual sports event, the following steps were followed:
This step was the last one where the team got actively involved in. Here the students were able to show what they had learned during prior sessions and to act accordingly. The PRCT team had organized all materials required for the games including: different colored t-shirts as well as the awards for the various teams, which pictured the symbol of peace: a flying dove.
Figure 1: A step-by-step approach
Important for the success of the event is that all of the above steps depicted in figure 1 are needed for a successful Sports for Peace event. Each step builds upon each other.
Detailed activities for a Sports for Peace event
The activities which form part of each step were further sub-divided according to the age, mental and physical fitness as well as with a view to the expected outcome that should be reached by the activity. While the stepwise approach proved successful for the events organised by PRCT, they should not be treated as a value-print. The steps need to be adapted and modified according to the individual settings.
Photo 1 & 2: Adapting Sports for Peace for individual settings
Step I: Preparation, Administration and Management
Proper preparation, management and administration are important in ensuring the smooth implementation of the Sports for Peace event. If any rules are needed for managing the event these more often than not depend upon the persons responsible for the event as well as the general “management” or “organizational” culture of the community where the event is taking place.
Photo 3: There is no substitute for a good plan!
Step II: Looking Back to the Past to Find Peace
What also proved important was to present and discuss with the participants the the historical perspective of Mindanao and it various conflicts. This was necessary in order to enable participants to grasp the complexities and nature of the conflicts that have made peace so elusive. At the same time it was also necessary to discuss the different peace building and conflict transformation initiatives that had been undertaken, highlighting the success and lessons-learnt.
Activity 1: Description of the region in Mindanao where the Sports for Peace took place in
Photo 4: Learning about the history of Mindanao from each other
Step III: Peace Concept and Culture of Peace
Step III involved four modules. These were aimed at providing the participants with a broader orientation on peace concepts and pedagogical principles while developing positive values and attitudes necessary for both personal and societal transformation. The modules were developed using structured learning exercises (SLEs) and other participatory and creative activities that can be done either in classrooms or outdoor settings. The age bracket of participants was considered in developing the activities. Hence, the participants were grouped into three age brackets: 6-8, 9-11, and 12-15 years of age.
Module 1: Peace concept and activities
Activity 1: “Peace awareness”
Module 2: Personal peace
Personal Peace refers to the harmonious relationship with oneself, with others, with the natural environment, and with God, Allah or one Supreme Being. The issue of personal peace is very basic: unless a person is peaceful, nothing is peaceful to him or to her.
Module 3: Children’s rights
The Convention on the Rights of a Child defines a child as a person under 18 years old, unless under the law applicable to the child the age of majority is attained earlier. While the Convention on the Rights of the Child recognizes 18 years as the upper age limit for children, it permits governments a degree of flexibility by adding the clause “age of majority”.
At the end of the session or activity, the participants were able to:
Activity 1: “Picture identification”
Photo 5: Learning about their rights
Module 4: Cultural solidarity
Inter-cultural conflict and issues play a vital role in obstructing peace at the regional and national levels. It is important to realize that cultural solidarity is essential and highly desirable for peace. The cultural conflicts that are plaguing Mindanao must be resolved through non-violent strategies. The tasks of the concept were to have the people understand the different cultural values and traditions within Mindanao.
Activity 1: “Picture analysis I”
Step IV: Sports core values
The Sports for Peace programme in Mindanao aimed to inculcate sports three core values among children and youth through the process of playing:
"The marble/stone theory"
Step V: The actual sport events
The four sports chosen for the Sports for Peace programs in Mindanao — basketball, volleyball, baseball and football — were team sports that are based on popularity in the localities this concept was applied in. They are also played by both boys and girls and in mixed teams. However, other sports might be organized as long as they are intended at promoting peace and solidarity, teamwork and socialization while establishing the basic foundation of the core values of sports. The sports should likewise recognize individual talent and skills.
The sports event was the highlight of the Sports for Peace activity wherein the participating students were able to “live” the concepts and culture of peace they had learned. In the sports event, the concept, objectives and guidelines for Sports for Peace as well as the roles of all participants were discussed as these provided the bases of the evaluation and rating after the games have been played.
2. Preparatory discussions and workshops
As preparatory activities before the conduct of the games, discussions and workshops were organized to fully explain to all participants the concept and objectives of Sports for Peace.
3. The different team sports
In this section the sports requirements and rules for each sport were the main focus. Preparations before the Sports for Peace event provided exact information about e.g. the size of the field, the number of participants, the rules of the games and some simple examples on tactics. The descriptions used are those general procedures and rules known all over the world. While these general rules were applied, it was sometimes good to simplify the rules to make the sports more applicable to the students.
4. Roles of major stakeholders
There were different stakeholders involved in the Sports for Peace events and they had different roles. An important role is that of the resource person. The resource person is responsible for the overall programme and therefore needs to fully understand the whole process. The following roles proved important for the success of the Sports for Peace Events in Mindanao:
Photo 6: Involving different stakeholders and learning from the “wise-elders”
Throughout the whole process the sustainability of the different events was monitored by the PRCT team on a daily basis. Regular feedback sessions helped to continually improve the events and include the community and students in the set up of the Sports for Peace occasions. At the end of each event the team evaluated the entire process, and noted changes and improvements to be made for the next Sports for Peace event.
Photo 7: Regular feed-back sessions helped to improve the Sports for Peace events
Whether the concept of Sports for Peace proves to be a sustainable conflict transformation/peace building approach in the context of Mindanao cannot be assessed at this point in time as the number of events carried out (nine in total over two year period of time) is not sufficient as it takes a longer period to achieve a significant change of