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Football4Peace is an organisation that aims to promote peace and co-existence, using sport as a vehicle to establish this. Football4Peace initiatives run in areas of conflict to bring differing communities together.
Football4Peace has an established program that is delivered among its projects, within different countries. These programmes are delivered to children and young people using values-based coaching, instead of skills based coaching to promote the five core values of Trust, Equality, Respect, Responsibility and Inclusion, of which Football4Peace is centred around.
The organisation was started at the University of Brighton, with its first project back in 2001 working within Israeli communities. Football4Peace projects currently run in conflicting areas such as The Gambia, Korea and Northern Ireland. I was grateful enough to be a part of the 2018 project in The Gambia, looking to bring the four communities of Berending, Kartong, Medina Salem and Gunjar together.
This was one of the best experiences I have had at University, working together with the Gambian coaches and volunteers to deliver the programme over our ten-day stay in The Gambia. Each Football4Peace coach like myself, was assigned to one of the four communities in which we would be working in, running two and a half hour coaching sessions twice a day.
The programme was intense having to work with over 50-60 children at a time, with a language barrier, using simple equipment and in extremely hot conditions. The programme was delivered over five days of coaching and two session run each day, with the children aiming to attend the festival at the end. During the last coaching session, the children who showed the greatest understanding of values were picked over competitive football skill to go to the festival. The festival was set up in a tournament style where children from all four communities where mixed together creating completely new teams altogether with an opportunity for social contact across community boundaries.
During my time coaching there, the progress I saw in the kids was immense having started with limited knowledge on the values, to later at the festival working together and helping each other through mutual understanding. The idea is that these children take the values they have learnt through sport and implement it within their communities to bring about co-existence. Several of the Gambian coaches say that Football4Peace plays a vital role within their communities and had allowed for growth and co-existence, through braking down barriers.
For these initiatives to take place, several sports coaches like myself work alongside each other and undergo training to deliver these programmes. I am looking to raise money for people like myself to deliver the programme, I would really appreciate anything you donate.
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Alex Demelo started crowdfunding