Football4Peace Programme proves a big success

Football4Peace Programme proves a big success

The Football4Peace Ireland Programme is a coaching programme that aims to develop community relations and personal values through the vehicle of football.
10th Sep 2009

The Football4Peace Ireland Programme is a coaching programme that aims to develop community relations and personal values through the vehicle of football.

Football for Peace Ireland is a joint venture between the Football Association of Ireland, the Irish Football Association and IDP (Inishowen Development Partnership), in the cross border regions of Limavady, Derry and Inishowen.

This programme which is based on a very successful pilot, is financed through core funding of the International Fund For Ireland and its donor countries; USA, EU, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.

The programme aims to promote peace and reconciliation on a cross border and cross community basis. The target groups included Catholic and Protestant children living in Limavady and Inishowen. The project is inclusive of boys and girls with disabilities, able bodied youngsters, less advantaged children, ethnic and religious minorities who worked alongside each other as a team.

An extensive evaluation of the pilot programme was carried out by Justice Associates, which was extremely positive about the perceived affect of Football 4 Peace on both the children and coaches involved in terms of their personal and social development. There was a clear and measurable change in the views and attitudes of the participants as evidenced in the Pre and Post Programme Student Surveys.

Senior Development Advisor, Paddy Harte said, "I am delighted to see that this three year Football4Peace Ireland programme has very successfully completed its first year. The programme which is using sport to help build foundations for reconciliation and build bridges between communities through targeting over 1,000 young people in the North West is a central theme in the 'Sharing this Space' strategy. I would like to congratulate IDP for bringing together the two Football Associations on the island in the delivery of this internationally recognised approach to addressing effective peace building and I am looking forward to working with them over the next two years."

"The model of using a football coaching programme as an aid to reconciliation as well as sports development networks has been thoroughly validated. We recognise the potential of Football for Peace as a model that could be more widely used. Not only was the evaluation of the pilot programme a success but the first year evaluation also showed significant attitudinal and behavioural changes in a positive manner, as the Justice Associates evaluation concluded. "The programme was similar in essence to the previous one and so were the responses, to a remarkable degree, though the changes were more marked in this Programme. We believe that this is further evidence that real changes in attitudes are being caused by this kind of project," he added.

The Football 4 Peace programme has gained an international reputation with its ground-breaking work in using sport as a tool for developing conflict prevention and peaceful co-existence in the Middle East. It is a large scale, grass roots project which brings young Arab and Jewish people together to experience a values-based football programme in Israel. The University of Brighton and the British Council have been instrumental in taking the Football4Peace programme through its development. This coaching manual is an adapted version of the one used with great success in Israel and has been devised at the University of Brighton.

The Football4Peace programme events update;
To put things into perspective, this year alone, F4P has:
• Worked with over 2,500 children in Israel (North and South), Germany, Ireland (North & South) and the UK in coaching projects, festivals and fundraising activities.
• It has trained nearly 125 coaches in the F4P methodology and worked alongside an additional 100 coaches and teachers from Israel, Germany, Ireland, UK, South Africa and Australia.
• Has successfully ran training camps / workshops in Ireland, Germany and Israel.
• Has attended conferences in Cyprus, UK, Germany, Israel, Australia and the Netherlands.
• Has received the endorsement of Sir Bobby Charlton.

There is more information on the Football4Peace programme on the new website:
In conjunction with the partnership of the University of Brighton, the University of Ulster and the Letterkenny Institute of Technology are developing partnerships that will aid in the sustaining of the programme. This will strengthen the Football for Peace model in a senior academic roll of the North West regions of Ireland and co inside the developing partnership of the Irish Football Association and the Football Association of Ireland.

FAI Chief Executive Officer, John Delaney said, "At the Football Association of Ireland we are delighted to support Football 4 Peace along with our partners in the IFA. This cross border, community based programme is a highly effective way of achieving peace and reconciliation through the medium of football. The programme is growing from strength to strength because it taps into the unique ability to football to cross all boundaries and make real connections between people of all ages from different communities.

The importance of coaching in this process cannot be underestimated and the Football 4 Peace programme's value based coaching is fundamental in helping our young people learn respect and understanding, while enjoying our game. I wish all involved in this exciting and important project every success for the future," he added.