Methodology and Curriculum
Behind all of PPI’s work is the proven methodology it has developed over a decade of bridging divides, developing leaders and changing perceptions in the organization’s four year-round programming sites. Though each site has developed its own distinctive ecosystem of programs to maximize available resources and meet local needs, all rely on the same three core elements and utilize PPI’s unique curriculum.
Frequent, Long-Term Integration
To truly transform the status quo in communities with histories of violence, PPI emphasizes a particular approach to integration that prioritizes the pursuit of shared goals and relationship building over a prolonged period of time. Children first start working with PPI in a “single-identity” context, building trust with teammates and coaches and familiarizing themselves with PPI’s curriculum. They then come together with their peers from the “other side” for the first time in a special event known as a “twinning,” where PPI’s trained coaches use basketball, the curriculum and their facilitation skills to help players build the respect and understanding that leads to lasting friendship. Over time, “twinnings” accelerate in frequency, as participants and families become more comfortable with the process. Ultimately, PPI aims to work with young people not only throughout an entire year, but year-over-year as well, laying the foundation for life-long change.
In this popular activity, called "Scramble," integrated teams compete in a controlled atmosphere. You may not be able to hear it over the cheering in this version (filmed in Jerusalem), but the game also helps children learn each other's names, a major first step to building unity in situations where groups have different native languages.
Local Leadership Development
After “graduating” from PPI’s core programs (serving children ages 6-14), participants between the ages of 15 and 18 are invited to take part in the “Leadership Development Program,” where they learn to lead PPI’s programs for younger children. Leadership Development Program participants serve as assistant coaches, perform a variety of community service activities and take part in intensive retreats to learn how they can better act as mentors and catalyze change among their friends, family and community. Graduates of the Leadership Development Program are encouraged to continue working with PPI as coaches, ensuring a sustainable leadership pipeline for the future.
This video profiles Darryl, the leader of PPI's Leadership Development Program in Northern Ireland, and drops in on some LDP activities.
Peace and Leadership Curricula
To overcome “exceptional” thinking (“My teammates might be good people, but they are the exceptions. Most people from ‘the other side’ are bad.”) and to help participants apply what they learn outside of the court, PPI includes an element of peace and leadership education in all that it does. Anchored by its organization-wide curriculum (see below), this educational component is crafted to closely meet local needs. For example, in South Africa, PPI’s curriculum emphasizes HIV/AIDS risk avoidance, whereas in Northern Ireland, it directly confronts the legacy of “The Troubles.”
All of PPI’s programs include an element of formal peace and leadership education, anchored by an innovative basketball-based curriculum developed in partnership with the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation and the Arbinger Institute, a global center for the study of interpersonal conflict. The curriculum uses a combination of fun, on-court activities and guided discussion to teach young people a way of thinking about conflict and their role in society. It emphasizes “out of the box” thinking – a way of interacting with those around us that honors both others' humanity and our own responsibility for change.
For example, in one drill coaches will instruct players not to pass to one of their teammates, who is not informed of the coaches’ direction until after the drill is over. When the excluded player finally does get the ball, almost invariably he or she will act selfishly as well, not passing to teammates and hurting the team in the process. After explaining what they asked the team to do, PPI's trained coaches use this experience to facilitate a discussion about anti-social behavior and how we often reciprocate the very actions we resent in others. By giving young people a language to describe personal and communal conflict, this curriculum helps them extend the lessons they learn within PPI to their lives far beyond the court.
Watch participants in PPI - Northern Ireland's Cross-Community League take part in activities from PPI's curriculum.
In each of our locations, the way this curriculum is implemented is tailored to local needs, in a collaborative process with local stakeholders. For example, in South Africa, PPI's curriculum focuses largely on making healthy life choices and HIV/AIDS prevention, and in Northern Ireland, it directly engages contentious issues, challenging young people to grapple with the complexties of growing up in a post-conflict society.