Volleyball bringing communities together throughout Africa
By bringing young people together for a fun, team-centred activity, volleyball is being used as a tool to bring peace education, social cohesion and social integration to the world’s most vulnerable.
September 21 was the UN’s Peace International Day. Peace and Sport encouraged local stakeholders, such as youth centres, sports clubs, National Federations, etc., to develop activities promoting peace through sport.
In Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo, where a three-year project supported by the FIVB and Peace and Sport was inaugurated in December 2011, hundreds of kids from the most vulnerable neighbourhoods got together for a volleyball peace tournament organised by the youth centre of Gihanga in collaboration with the Burundi Volleyball Federation.
“We are very proud to be able to make a difference using Volleyball as a tool,” said Guy-Emmanuel Girukwishaka, director of the Gihanga youth centre. “Celebrating peace through volleyball today was a great experience for us and we will from now organise such events on a larger scale every September 21st.”
In Timor Leste, a country celebrating its 10th year of independence, a volleyball tournament brought together neighbourhoods of Dili, the capital, with a history of communal violence. Such friendly tournaments are helping strengthen social cohesion and inter-neighbourhood friendship.
In Colombia, volleyball was again used as a tool for promoting peace through sport on this special day. In the slums of Medellin, where violence happens on a daily basis, the NGO Colombianitos organised friendly games to spread positive messages, volleyball values, and the need for dialogue and non-violence.
“Peace and Sport is very proud of the first year of cooperation with FIVB,” said Ludovic Hubler, head of programmes and field operations for Peace and Sport. “It was wonderful to see, during the UN International Peace Day, the work of all the National Federations, clubs and youth centres who developed Peace through Sport Programmes. They highlight how much volleyball can make a difference in the lives of the most vulnerable.”