Playing for peace: Reuniting communities through sports

/Introduction

Using sports in peacebuilding is a positive practice that has great impact and is scalable beyond imagination. Heal Zimbabwe Trust (HZT) uses sporting activities to promote social cohesion, reduce political polarisation and social tension among youths. The Youth Sports for Peace Initiative is a neutral, tolerance and trust building platform for communities divided by structural and systemic violence, which manifests itself as political violence during political processes. The practice has managed to strengthen and rebuild inter-personal and inter-group relations, hence the need to replicate it in other communities for the purpose of building and deepening social cohesion and peaceful co-existence. Heal Zimbabwe has and continue to implement these activities through the local “infrastructure for peace” which are community level structures created by, and working with, the organization to organize activities and ensure local community ownership and sustainability. These are Community Peace Clubs, Women safe spaces for reconciliation, human rights monitors and Community Based Organizations in Zimbabwe’s rural communities most susceptible to manipulation due to poverty thereby prone to social, economic and politically motivated violence: Gokwe, Tsholotsho, Mbire, Rushinga, Mutoko, Makoni, Mutasa, Buhera, Chipinge, Zaka, Gutu, Mazowe, Murehwa, and Bikita. In this article HZT, therefore, details the practice of using sports as a tool for community cohesion building with a view to inform broader peace building practices.

Source: Heal Zimbabwe

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