Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland HuddlePeacePlayers International - Northern Ireland (PPI - NI) is an independently registered cross-community peacebuilding charity in Northern Ireland (Ref: XR74498) that uses sport – in particular, basketball – to unite and educate young people from Protestant and Catholic communities

By regularly competing together on mixed teams, children from these historically divided groups discover common ground and forge new friendships, while a mix of local and international facilitators help them adjust to the complexities that accompany growing up in a post-conflict society. In its last programmatic year, PPI - NI worked with roughly 2,000 participants, while providing services to eight of the ten most disadvantaged communities in Northern Ireland according to the Northern Ireland Statistic and Research Agency.

Register now for the Belfast Interface League (BIL) for children aged 9-15: CLICK HERE


Champions For Peace

A champion is often thought of as a fighter or a warrior or a winner. So what is a champion for peace? Simply put, a champion for peace is a young person who participates and even initiates positive social change en route to peace in his or her own community.

With this in mind, the PeacePlayers International – Northern Ireland (PPI-NI) would like to introduce the Champions4Peace (C4P) programme, which represents the highest level of involvement for a young person in PPI-NI. The programme will provide experienced participants with a voice, as they participate with PPI-NI staff in meetings, recruiting, event planning, fundraisers, and sub-groups. The ultimate aim of the programme is leadership development with the hope that young people become C4P in their own neighborhoods. 

There are two levels within the C4P programme: Juniors (9-13 years old) and Seniors (14-18 years old). Each group meets once a month for either a training session, planning meeting, or a trip of some kind. To join the Champions 4 Peace programme, please fill out the APPLICATION.


Core Programs

  • Primary School Twinnings

    Entire classes of children at the Primary 6 and 7 levels (ages 8-11) from neighboring Controlled (predominantly Protestant) and Maintained (predominantly Catholic) schools come together for basketball and community relations sessions in mixed groups. PPI - NI works with 20 schools in Belfast, 4 in Lurgan, and is starting a program with 6 schools in Ballymena. In Fall 2010, PPI - NI extended its primary school programme to include half-day introductory twinning sessions with children at the Primary 4 and 5 levels (ages 7-8) in each of these schools.
    Permission Slip for Twinning Programme
  • Cross Community Interface League - Junior and Senior Belfast Interface League (BIL)

    An evening / after school and residential programme for ages 9 -17 years that builds upon the lessons of the primary school curriculum and engages young people in ‘hubs’ in north, south, east and west Belfast providing cross community basketball training, matches, and community relations discussions.  Our senior participants, 14+ yrs, have the opportunity to gain OCN Level I qualifications through their participation in this 12 week programme.  Those that display exemplary leadership qualities are invited to attend our advanced leadership training and can achieve OCN Level II qualifications by participating in residential training sessions.
  • Coaches Leadership Development Programme

    Young adults 18 and over work with PPI-NI as part of its sessional coaching staff.  In this role, sessional coaches facilitate basketball and community relations lessons in our core programming.  They are also provided year round opportunities for community relations trainings, basketball trainings, and opportunities to take part in sport-focused, Open College Network-certified qualifications that provide young people who have experienced difficulties with mainstream education a crucial alternate progression route.  This progression allows participants to remain involved with PeacePlayers after being a participant. 
  • Game of Three Halves

    PPI-NI working in close collaboration with the Ulster Council of the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA), Ulster Rugby, and the Irish Football Association (IFA) has supported the development and roll-out of the Game of Three Halves (GO3H) initiative.  The GO3H brings children and young people from different backgrounds together to explore culture and identity through participation in three sports from Northern Ireland's rich sporting heritage: football, Gaelic football and Rugby. Coaching stations, led by coaches from each of the three sports, are complimented by a ‘fourth half’ - interactive community relation’s conversations led by PeacePlayers facilitators.  Most recently, with support provided by Belfast City Council through its PEACE III Strategic Grants programme, PPI-NI has managed and facilitated the Belfast Interface Games (BIG) in 2012 and 2013. Through its involvement with BIG, PPI-NI has taken a leading role as champion for community relations through sport.


Staff Contact: 
Gareth Harper
Managing Director
Peace House - 224 Lisburn Road Belfast, BT9 6GE UK
+44 28-9066-7416


“The love the coaches have for basketball inspires us to continually improve our game and they taught us how to be a better person on the court as well in our everyday life” 
Christiana Miltiadous, Participant, PeacePlayers International - Cyprus
"We find that the PeacePlayers program brings in life-skills in a non-threatening way, and is helping to educate children on the big issues of HIV…We also find that in the PeacePlayers program, we...
Pamilla Mudhray, CSI Manager, Sasol, South Africa
"I’m glad that Ronnie’s taking part in PeacePlayers…hopefully Ronny doesn’t have to go through what I went through at Ronnie’s age.”
Manny Macauley, Parent, PeacePlayers International – Northern Ireland
“I love this organization because it unites Greek-Cypriots with Turkish-Cypriots by doing what we all love, playing basketball!” 
Dimitris Charalambous, Participant, PeacePlayers International - Cyprus
“The reason that I participate in this program and love it so much is because it helps me learn new things while playing my favorite sport. I have made so many new friends, Greek-Cypriots and Turkish...
Victor Petrov, Participant, PeacePlayers International - Cyprus
“Why did I join? Simple, it gave me purpose and it made me happy. It gave me the feeling of belonging somewhere. It was a place where your goals and hobbies harmonize with the goals of an...
Eleni Partakki, Participant, PeacePlayers International - Cyprus
"When you get to know your teammates, it doesn’t really matter what their religion is."
Aoife Doherty, Participant, PeacePlayers International – Northern Ireland
"By focusing on the game of basketball and the values of sportsmanship, the youth learn to break down stereotypes to contribute to an environment whereby children who play together can learn to live...
Bicommunal Support Program, U.S. Embassy in Nicosia, Cyprus
"We work in an education system that is divided…PeacePlayers program is pointed towards the integration of those children. You’re getting children to mix in an environment where there’s not the...
Derrick Harkness, Principal, Carrs Glen Primary School, Northern Ireland
"Programmes like this that work at the grass roots level with the young people in our society are vital to achieving sustainable peace within our communities. We are committed to supporting and...
Denis Rooney, CBE, Chairman of the International Fund for Ireland, Chairman, International Fund for Ireland
"It’s hard to live without my parents, but my PPI coach is always there for me. He’s really more like a brother."
Sihle Cele, Participant, PeacePlayers International – South Africa
"If she takes one thing away, it’s to know that there’s no differences from the other community, that everybody’s equal, and that she has great enjoyment with PeacePlayers."
Nula Doherty, Parent, PeacePlayers International – Northern Ireland
"I was scared to death at first. But by the end of the match, I realized we were all the same."
Geina Mdungo, Participant, PeacePlayers Interational – South Africa
"Through PeacePlayers I have learnt how to share, trust, cooperate, and respect everyone, creating friendship and peace. PeacePlayers taught us whatever your religion or language you are talking, it...
Cetin Pirlanta, Participant, PeacePlayers International - Cyprus
"Basketball has added a new dimension to our sporting activities. Of course, it improves coordination and also improves communication between the kids themselves. It’s wonderful that PPI has become...
Jennifer Sonasundrum, Principal, Merry Hill Primary School, South Africa
"I was on the train one day with my Jewish friends and they started making fun of an Arab woman…I told them to stop and that she was embarrassed and that she just wanted to go to work. I then told...
Adiel, Participant, PeacePlayers International – Middle East
"In the beginning I participated for the basketball, but then I made friends with the Turkish-Cypriots. Now we play and we all have fun together."
Evripidis Kardamilas, Participant, PeacePlayers International – Cyprus
"We typically use activities such as art and drama to bridge divides between the youth. We always knew that sport had the potential to do the same, but PPI - ME's sport day went way above and beyond...
Yael Gur, Project Manager, A New Way, Israel
“PeacePlayers has taught me lots of important things, like how to be a good person, a good friend, and a good leader. One of the most important things it has taught me is how to educate the younger...
Nursu Tilki, Participant, PeacePlayers International - Cyprus
"At the start [playing together] wasn't weird, but it was different because we would never have gotten the opportunity to go out and meet Protestants and be friends with them."
Ann Murphy, Participant, PeacePlayers International – Northern Ireland
"I met new players I didn't know before, and learned how to play with new people. The best part was learning things from new players and different areas coming together. I learned you don't have to...
Amir, Participant, PeacePlayers International – Middle East
 “Through basketball I got over my fears and the stereotypes that we were taught in school. Basketball helped me to become friends with those guys without even speaking!”
Alexis Georgiou, Participant, PeacePlayers International - Cyprus
"A lot of kids believe that one kid on the other side is a good person, but every other one is a bad person, and they then carve out these narrow exceptions. What [PPI’s] curriculum is doing is...
Chad Ford, Director, David O. McKay Center for Intercultural Understanding, Brigham Young University