From October 2-5, East African streetfootballworld network members came together in Kigali, Rwanda for the first ever streetfootballworld East Africa Meeting and Forum 2012. Organised by streetfootballworld and streetfootballworld network member Espérance, and supported by the German Federal Foreign Office, the event focused on football as a tool for peace building and violence prevention in communities across the region.
Right after the official opening of the Kimisagara Football for Hope Centre, the centre host Espérance welcomed representatives and young leaders from all 13 network members in East Africa at their premises in Kigali.
The first two days of the summit were devoted to network development in the region. Guided by streetfootballworld Regional Coordinator Margaret Belewa and Regional Consultant Sarah Forde, the members reviewed their joint violence prevention policy for East Africa and developed an action plan for its implementation, as well as considering different forms of advocacy for the network. The participating organisations face similar issues with violence among young people and shared first-hand experience and best practice examples from their communities.
As special guests from the global streetfootballworld network, Veronica Escobar from FUDELA in Ecuador and Florian Zech from AMANDLA in South Africa gave valuable input to the discussions and shared their experiences throughout the week.
Strong collaboration in East Africa
"The streetfootballworld East Africa Forum is a great opportunity for our East African network members to come together and to continue their strong collaboration. On top of that, they have the unique opportunity to present their innovative work to the wider public," stated Margaret Belewa, coordinator of the streetfootballworld network in East Africa.
At the same time, young leaders from all attending organisations took part in a “Football for Peace” or football3 workshop delivered by Espérance. The method promotes peaceful conflict resolution through dialogue. Matches are played in mixed teams of boys and girls without a referee, guided by specially trained mediators.
Football as a tool for peace building and violence prevention
Espérance's legal representative Donatien Nsengimana stated during the Forum: "It is a pleasure for us to host the first streetfootballworld East Africa Forum in Kigali, Rwanda. Espérance was one of the first members in the streetfootballworld network and it is a great to see organisations in the region working closely together. As a network we can achieve much more than we can achieve alone.”
At the Forum on October 5, experts from within the network shared their experiences of how football is used as a tool to create a safer and more harmonious society. The panelists took a close look at the achievements and challenges of football-based violence prevention programmes in the East African region. One highlight of the event was a break-out session where several young leaders shared their personal stories.
“Setting up a regional coordination in East Africa is opening up a number of possibilities and provides a good example how regional development in the streetfootballworld network can be achieved,” said streetfootballworld’s Christophe Mailliet.
The meeting demonstrated the strong commitment of the members in the region to close collaboration, and we are looking forward to upcoming joint projects resulting from this event.