The goal of RMF’s Kiryandongo Sports Program (KSP) is to provide a formally structured youth sports program that addresses the challenges of trauma from past experiences and intertribal conflict. Sports are an ideal tool to facilitate the development of life skills and to bridge divides through a trauma-sensitive approach, while harnessing the potential of Kiryandongo Refugee Settlement’s youth, many of whom have lost their families and lack direction and mentorship. The Kiryandongo Sports Program combines Real Medicine Foundation’s on-the-ground knowledge and resources with training and initial assessment from PeacePlayers International and support from Laureus Sport for Good, using sports to bridge divides and create a safe space where young people can form new group identities and learn skills to effectively deal with conflict.
Peace Education Curriculum
RMF’s Kiryandongo Sports Program uses a unique curriculum, The Anatomy of Peace, which PeacePlayers International (PPI) created in partnership with the Arbinger Institute. The curriculum blends interactive sports activities and guided discussions to give young people a language to discuss conflict. At its heart are two tenets: 1) while we can influence others, we can only control ourselves and 2) though we may feel (and even sometimes be) mistreated, we always maintain the choice of how we see another.
People-to-people peacebuilding endeavors are most effective when an engagement
tool is used in addition to the peace education component. RMF, trained by PPI and supported by Laureus Sport for Good, is using soccer as a fun and engaging way to bring participants together, providing a safe space for young people from opposing cultures to attain a superordinate goal together—a goal that could not be reached without combined efforts. Through this, an environment is created for participants to grow as leaders, players, and teammates.
Frequent, Long-Term Integration through Sports
Over a period of months, participants first build trust with coaches and teammates from their own community, later coming together for bi-communal “twinning” events and eventually playing on fully integrated teams. Ultimately, the program aims to work with young people not only throughout an entire year, but year-over-year as well, laying the foundation for lifelong change.
A three-tiered program structure engages youth through early adulthood,
whereby child participants become teen leaders, who later become coaches, applying their own gains to the next generation of program participants.
Local leadership is critical in creating program sustainability, helping
navigate cultural contexts to better understand the most critical issues facing the community. But local leaders are not just credible stakeholders; they also serve as mentors and role models capable of relating to participants’ real-life struggles.
Outside of school, there are few extracurricular and weekend activities for youth.
With few structured activities for youth from both sides of the South Sudanese conflict to interact and a lack of exposure to activities outside of the camp, conflict between tribal groups is common.
In 60% of the interviews conducted by RMF/PPI, “trauma from past experiences” was mentioned as a major issue facing children and youth.
Lack of Positive Role Models
Many children have been separated from their families or witnessed their parents and relatives being killed. Now, as KRS Primary School Headmaster explained, “Children in Kiryandongo Refugee Settlement suffer from overcrowding and lack of adult attention in every part of their lives.”
The Kiryandongo Sports Program combines Real Medicine Foundation’s on-the-ground knowledge and resources with training and initial assessment from PeacePlayers International and support from Laureus Sport for Good, using sports to bridge divides and create a safe space where young people can form new group identities and learn skills to effectively deal with conflict.
Support this Initiative
Use your credit card or PayPal to support this initiative.