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 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.
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.
Primary School TwinningsEntire 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.
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 ProgrammeYoung 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 HalvesPPI-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.