Representatives from 15 streetfootballworld network members met in Kigali, Rwanda at the streetfootballworld East Africa Forum to discuss how football can be used as a tool for peace building and violence prevention in communities across the region.
The event took place at the Kimisagara One Stop Youth Employment and Productive Center in Kigali, on October 5th 2012,
In the presence of Rwanda’s Minister of Youth and Information and Communication Technology Mr. Jean Philbert Nsengimana, participants discussed how organizations can increase their impact by sharing knowledge and working together across national borders. The participating organisations face similar issues with violence among young people and shared first-hand experience and best practice examples from their communities.
The event is organized by streetfootballworld, the leading network in the field of Social Change through Football, and Espérance-a Rwandan streetfootballworld network member which promotes unity, reconciliation, gender equality and conflict resolution using football and community theatre programmes. The event is supported by the German Federal Foreign Office.
“The street football world East Africa Forum is a great opportunity for our East African network members to come together and to continue their strong collaboration. On top of that, they have the unique opportunity to present their innovative work to the wider public,” stated Margaret Belewa, Coordinator of the streetfootballworld network in East Africa.
At the Forum, experts shared their experiences of how football is used as a tool to create a safer and more harmonious society. The panelists took a close look at the achievements and challenges of football-based violence prevention programmes in the East African region.
To highlight the global approach of the network, network members from South Africa and Ecuador with expertise in violence prevention were also invited to share their experiences at the forum. A joint violence prevention policy for East Africa was developed by the participants prior to the Forum and is now being reviewed and complemented by an action plan to implement it.
Prior to the Forum, young leaders from all attending organisations took part in a “Football for Peace” workshop delivered by Espérance. The method promotes peaceful conflict resolution through dialogue. Matches are played in a non-competitive manner in mixed teams of boys and girls without a referee, guided by specially trained mediators.
Espérance’s legal representative Donatien Nsengimana stated during the Forum: “It is a pleasure for us to host the first streetfootballworld East Africa Forum in Kigali, Rwanda. Espérance was one of the first members in the streetfootballworld network and it is a great to see organizations in the region working closely together. As a network we can achieve much more than we can achieve alone.”