Football for Reconciliation Flag

  • Award Entered:
    Best New Project
  • Parent Organisation:
  • Project Host Nation:
    Sierra Leone
  • Overview of Project:
    We currently work in rural communities in Sierra Leone, a country ravaged by a civil war, which ruptured the social fabric and turned whole communities against each other. The first step of our work is a thorough sensitization process as well as identification of key individuals in the participating chiefdoms; this is done in close cooperation with our local partner. Next step is to organize the actual Play31 tournament, where each participating chiefdom will play one home and one away match. On a match day, there are three rounds of games: children’s matches, followed by female matches, and lastly, the men play. Elders of both sexes are always strongly represented among the supporters. After the matches, everyone gathers for communal cooking and dining. Finally, later at night, the “disco,” a big party where everyone is invited, starts. The host village allocates a number of houses where the visitors can sleep. As such, the communities end up not just playing football, cooking, eating, and dancing together, but also spending the night in the same village. Football thus becomes the facilitator for further interaction between communities that have been torn apart by war and a step toward rebuilding trust and friendship across former enemy lines.

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