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Showing posts from January, 2016

How Sport for Development and Peace Works (Pt. V)

Final in our five-part series on how sport for development and peace works.

EXAMPLE 5: SPORT IS FUN

The regenerative power of having fun, particularly for younger members of a community, should not be underestimated. In situations where children are forced to witness the cruelest, most unjust, violent or depraved manifestations of human behaviour many experience alarmingly, if understandable, high levels of stress and mental health disorders.

Being able to release the tension and to revert to being children again may be all a given child needs to begin to find his/her way back to a normal life.

Moreover, introducing children and youths to the fun aspects of life, such a sport, in a well-structured context, can head-off generational attachments to dispute and possibly war. Children who are exposed to children from groups and communities with whom their parents may be, or have been, or may yet be, at war can lift the level of relationships to a more productive place, where talking and n…

How Sport for Development and Peace Works (Pt. IV)

Part IV of our series on how sport for development and peace works/

EXAMPLE 4: SPORT CAN BE USED AS A FOCAL POINT

In many societies sports clubs are used as central points for the community. Not only can they be the site of actual sporting activity, which in itself brings the community together, the location is often seen as a proxy space for both formal and informal community gatherings.

Sport, therefore, can act as a kind of motivator, a centripetal force for disconnected communities, which brings individuals together to share a common, fun, interest.

This may engender a sense of motivation or even pride among disadvantaged communities.

In practice, this means that sports clubs can be readily utilised to act as spaces for both curriculum and community education (such as physical and mental health care) or as meeting spaces for competing groups.

The actual practice of sport can act to lighten moods and expend energy which might otherwise be used to fight or to foment disputes. The sh…

How Sport for Development and Peace Works (Pt III)

Part III of our series on how sports for development and peace works.

EXAMPLE 3: SPORTS IS BASED ON SHARED RULES AND AGREED OUTCOMES

It is one of the characteristics of war and many forms of violence that there is an absence of normal, commonly accepted rules.

Sport offers an alternative to this.

Being in a contained area which, while contested, is nevertheless bound by rules and conventions, and is adjudicated by a recognised and impartial referee goes some way towards ensuring that those used to, or who are seeking, a world without norms and without rules can be countered, both conceptually and literally.

The similarities football, and some other sports, share with peace talks and other forms of dispute resolution are manifest.

At another level, playing in a team with others with whom an individual might have been obliged to fight and or to hate, can provide ground on which mutual understanding and compassion can be gained.

The most basic rule of football is that hands cannot touch …

How Sport for Development and Peace Works (Pt II)

Part II in our five-part series on how sport for development and peace works.

In this short piece, we look at the inherent peace-building and peace-making characteristics of sport.

Example 2: SPORT IS A PEACEFUL ACTIVITY

Football is our go-to sport. There's a few reasons for that. For instance, its the most international sport we know, it's easily understood, it can be played by anyone and it takes little equipment or set-up.

But another important reason we like to go with football is that it has certain characteristics that make it particularly useful as a peace tool.

Take the shape of the game. It flows and shifts, moving over the whole field in a series of fluid movements. There are no lines or obstacles on the field itself to stop movement and flow. Every part of the field is used and anyone can go to any part of the field at any time.

This shape ensures that the space is shared. Players go in and out of each other's physical space constantly. Players must learn to sha…

How Sport For Development and Peace Works (Pt 1)

Some of us from The Kick Project team were in a meeting with potential partners recently, when we were asked a question about “Proof of Concept” of sport for development and peace. The context of the question was that we were talking about sport for development and peace - especially football - but we weren't putting the pieces together. As she said, “It's all good. But I don't see how this works. How does sport and football generate peace and development? What's the proof of concept?”

It made us think: it can be easy when you're working away on your stuff to lose touch of your context. In this case, this person was someone who wrote grant applications. She wanted to know how she would sell our concept to attract funding. Completely fair enough.

So, we (hopefully) addressed her concerns at the time and took her concern on notice for next time we spoke. Debriefing afterwards, we realised there may be others out there who don't quite see the links between sport …

Wanda and Big Sport - A New Era for Asia

Welcome back and happy New Year to all our readers!

We aim this year to be a huge one for The Kick Project. As part of our stepping up, we will be filling the blog with more great content - both original and curated - over the coming months. Our topic line is the world of football and how it impacts in areas of peace, reconciliation, community development and social justice.

It's a big topic and there's plenty happening. And plenty to be said.

So please follow this blog, subscribe and interact. Your support is valuable.

We start the year with this piece our founder, James, has written for the ANZ Bluenotes news site. Bluenotes is a dedicated news site run by one of Australia's biggest banks, ANZ.

The article is on the movements of one of Asia's biggest property developers, Wanda Group, into the sports industry.

The implications of this for us here at The Kick Project are that a) Asia is becoming a focal point in the business of major sport promotion and that ever larg…