Sports have a fundamental human appeal. They can connect people across cultures, religions, nationalities, languages, and other divides. When people participate in sporting activities, they learn to respect the dignity of their opponents, the values of teamwork and tolerance, and the importance of fair play and regulations. Sports can, in a few words, be an important tool for peacebuilding and reconciliation. In this light, Cico Uganda designed the Sports for Peace and Development programs.
Many young people in rural communities are growing restless and engaging in destructive behavior due to a lack of structure and purpose. Moreover, feelings of hate and revenge are festering. Cico Uganda came up with Sports for Peace and Development as a way to give a majority of residents a constructive outlet for their energy while also offering a safe space to learn essential values and address their traumas
On some occasions, more than 1000 people have attended such events, which make them an important community-building tool. When done effectively, sports can be a great way to bridge divides among clans, ethnicities, political groups & other diverse populations. Sports have a near universal quality-no matter what language you speak, or where you are from, you probably know or can learn the rules of the game. This shared quality can tangibly demonstrate commonalities rather than differences among.
The program combines sports with peacebuilding activities. Teams established and supported by Cico Uganda practice weekly, with sessions followed by workshops focusing on peace and tolerance, trauma healing, or sexual and reproductive health. Further, through Peace Engagement Days - sports events that double as platforms for disseminating values conducive to peace and reconciliation - communities come together to engage in community dialogues and cultural celebrations while enjoying good games.