Signup for the
Interreligious harmony is God's way of life.
|Sports for Peace - How to Organize a One-Day Program|
|By John Gehring, Universal Peace Federation|
|Sunday, August 29, 2010|
Viewing sports as a potential instrument for peace, the Universal Peace Federation designed a one-day Sports for Peace program that integrates sports and education in order to promote peaceful communities.
The sports component involves teams playing a popular sport such as football (soccer), basketball, or races. An optional additional component is playing or demonstrating a traditional game. Coaches and officials should encourage good sportsmanship during competitions.
The educational component is aligned with the UN's effort to promote peace and development through sports while increasing the awareness of the benefits sports can contribute to personal development, community harmony, and a healthy life-style. Sample interactive exercises, guidance for a group discussion, and a PowerPoint presentation have been created for the educational component. See the collection of resources for organizers.
The following guidelines are offered to organizers of the day's activities.
A locally organized competition in a popular international sport such as football, basketball, or track. We recommend a football competition because it is popular and doesn't involve expenses. If possible, include a traditional sport, with community elders playing a demonstration game or coaching teams.
Q. What age participants should we invite?
A. The availability of playing fields may limit the number of teams. We recommend inviting participants with experience playing the sport, so the event will focus on playing rather than teaching. Older youth can serve as coaches, officials, and staff. This will give them opportunities to serve as good role models and be recognized for making a contribution to their community.
Q. Should we have separate teams for boys and girls?
A. This depends on cultural sensitivities. You should offer opportunities for both girls and boys to play. Mixed teams may be suitable for younger children, but for participants older than 13, we advise separate teams.
Q. Should we give prizes?
A. Prizes are exciting, and if you can give them it is a plus. Prizes can be something creative; for example, a local sponsor may offer a free movie ticket. Consider presenting all competitors with a certificate of participation. To reinforce the educational component, give awards for good sportsmanship and positive attitude.
Q. What if many participants want to play?
A. There are several factors to consider: How many people you want to involve and how many games would be required to get them involved? Will each team play once or will you have playoffs to determine the overall winner? How much time is available? How many fields can be used? How tired will younger players become? Do you have the necessary officials and staff? Once you have a clear idea about how many people will be participating, you can set up a schedule.
Q. Do teams need to be regulation size games regulation length?
A. Shorter than regulation competitions make it possible to involve more players and have play-offs. In football, 7-person teams involve more action than 11-person teams. A basketball game can played to 11 or 15 points and can involve 3 players per team rather than the regulation 5 players.
Q. How about rules?
A. Make sure that the rules are clear and that each competition has referees or officials that focus on good sportsmanship. These may be adults or experienced older youth; it's best not to have parents as officials in games their children participate in.
Q. What safety arrangements are needed?
A. Have first-aid supplies on hand and someone trained to administer it. Make sure that enough water (and/or sports drinks) is available for the players. In addition, you may want to sell drinks to those attending the event. If you can get water or drinks donated, that is a plus; you will need to decide if their will be a charge.
Q. Why include a traditional sport?
A. Traditional games are anchors of community stability, a critical element in peaceful societies. Having community elders demonstrate traditional games or coach the younger generations in playing them is an opportunity for multi-generational cooperation, a vital contributor to community harmony.
The education program supports the UN's efforts to promote sports as instruments for peace and development. It shows how sports can promote good habits, build character, and encourage a healthy lifestyle. A PowerPoint presentation gives the contents for a seminar. At the end, a group discussion can give each participant an opportunity to contribute. You may also use interactive learning exercises.
Q. What audience is the PowerPoint presentation for?
A. We developed a presentation that is for athletes, coaches, parents, teachers and community leaders. Students should be of high school age or older. Please feel free to adjust the content to your audience.
Q. What if I don't have a projector?
A. You can make flip charts. You will be asking participants to respond and it is important to be able to write down their responses so that all can see. You can print the material and distribute some or all of it to the participants.
Q. What are some team-building exercises for children and youth?
A. For suggestions, click here.
8:00 am - Organizing staff meet
Adjust the schedule according to your situation. The awards ceremony can be very simple. If all team members are receiving a certificate of participation, team leaders may pass them out rather then calling every person up to receive the certificate.
For more resources for organizers, click here.