PeacePlayers International (PPI) is a nonprofit organization that uses the game of basketball to unite, educate, and inspire young people in divided communities. Through year-round programs in South Africa, Northern Ireland, Israel/West Bank, and Cyprus, PPI has cumulatively reached more than 55,000 young people since 2001. Through a technical assistance program, organizations from Belfast to Afghanistan have looked to PPI for guidance in the use of sport for high-impact peacebuilding. Informed by a decade of experience in diverse settings, PPI has developed and disseminates a methodology for using sport for youth civic engagement, leadership development and conflict transformation.
Nearly 4,000 young people currently take part in PPI’s year-round programs, which combine integrated basketball with interactive peace and leadership education. At their core is a structure called the “Twinned Basketball Clubs,” in which two teams from opposite sides of a deep communal divide come together frequently and over an extended period of time to play and learn together as one. Trained local coaches help the children through a progressive process of relationship-building and learning to trust “the other,” supported by a curriculum developed by PPI in partnership with conflict transformation experts that uses fun basketball activities to teach children concrete ways to transcend conflict.
PPI has established itself as a leader for using sport for social goals. Each of PPI’s year-round programs has undergone outside evaluations to assess impact, and without exception these reports have confirmed PPI’s ability to build mutual trust and understanding in divided communities. PPI is in the process of implementing an internal monitoring and evaluation system, tracking program success in real-time. An evaluation of PPI’s work in Cyprus, states PPI is “having an unmistakable impact on bridging divides and helping children overcome their mental barriers.”
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