Sports for Peace - Advantages and Limitations

  • Even though the participants come from different backgrounds (social, religious, ethnicity, etc.),  they have similar strengths and weaknesses. By playing together as a team,  goals can be achieved.
  • The overall rules of the sports played are known to most of the participants and therefore it’s easy to start off the activity. At the same time binding rules create confidence in a conflict setting.
  • The rules for the Sports for Peace event can be discussed / negotiated in advance to adapt them to the local conditions
  • Most students are keen on sports and like to participate in the activities.
  • Sports for Peace increases awareness of the dynamics of conflicts. 
  • By being put into different roles (player, spectator or even coach) the participants get to see a problem from different angles and therefore get a deeper understanding of the situation to derive a solution.
  • Sport integrates an important part of the human being, which often gets forgotten in peace building: the body and its emotions.
  • Gender sensitivity can be addressed by ensuring an appropriate sports type is identified and applied during the event.
  • Using mixed teams for the sports events could contribute to gender sensitivity.
  • The participatory approach of the Sports for Peace programme ensures ownership for the involved community members, teachers and students.
  • Programmes that use sport must take into account the ways in which sport and physical activity is seen in culturally different settings and how it is constructed in a given conflict context.
  • Sport, in its traditional form, is not a conflict preventive measure. On the contrary, its nature is exactly the opposite: a physical contest between people or teams with common goals. To prevent the outbreak of violence, conflict sensitive approaches should be in place.    
  • External forces and influences are not taken into account. Outside forces affect and sometimes perpetuate war. This programme does not bridge the gap between communities at war and the context in which the war occurs. 
  • The outcomes from the Sports for Peace events depend completely on the participants. Not everybody has sufficient critical self-reflection, especially if the participants come from the conflict parties themselves. 
  • Sports for Peace is often a one-time activity and the effect it has on the community is difficult to measure. Its sustainability remains a challenge.  
  • Sports for Peace can’t be conducted while there is an open conflict ongoing.