PeacePlayers 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 900 participants, while providing services to eight of the ten most disadvantaged communities in Northern Ireland according to the Northern Ireland Statistic and Research Agency.
PPI - NI’s programs include:
Primary School Twinnings
Entire classes of children at the Primary 6 and 7 levels (ages 8-11) from neighbouring Protestant and Catholic schools come together for basketball and community relations sessions in mixed groups. PPI - NI works with 12 schools in Belfast, four in Lurgan, and has just completed a pilot programme with four schools in Antrim. 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.
Enhancing Diversity Through Sport/Cross Community LeagueChildren of all backgrounds ages 9 -17 come together from community centres, clubs, churches and other youth groups located in interface areas throughout the city for integrated basketball and community relations discussions. Activities occur in a structured, fun, and inclusive environment after school and on weekends. PPI - NI currently works with seven community centres in Belfast.
Leadership Development ProgrammeIn partnership with the International Fund for Ireland, PPI - NI recruits young people between the ages of 16 and 25 with outstanding leadership potential for year-round leadership, life skills and community relations training, anchored by monthly workshops and quarterly residential retreats. The programme arms participants with leadership skills that will enhance their future employment prospects and encourages continued engagement in community activity. Its sport-focused, Open College Network-certified qualifications provide young people who have experienced difficulties with mainstream education a crucial alternate progression route.