Ireland Concept Note

Football 4 Peace Ireland Concept Note

Football 4 Peace is a network of sport-based conflict resolution and peace building programmes operating across Ireland and Northern Ireland, bringing together communities and schools from each side of the border regardless of faith to jointly set up and bring to life a series of Cross-Community/School Sport Partnerships (CCSPs or CSSPs).  It also has initiatives involving communities in the north of Jordan, a cross community initiative in Israel and (separate to all other initiatives) in 2010 held a successful pilot project in Bethlehem in the West Bank (Palestinian Authority).

F4P Ireland began in 2007 and is jointly endorsed by the Irish Football Association (Northern Ireland) and the Football Association of Ireland (Republic of Ireland) and is aimed at using sport, most notably football, as a means to promote community relations through cross border and cross community partnerships.  F4P Ireland is part financed by a series of foundations and sponsors, and is administrated by Inishowen Development Partnership in partnership with the University of Brighton.

Training and mentoring is a key feature of the evolving F4P model.  Drawing upon more than a decade of experience, F4P has designed a dedicated peace building coaching curriculum at the heart of which is the concept of Fair Play which itself is broken down, articulated, and acted out in ways that highlight the basic building blocks of human rights and social justice, namely: trust, respect, responsibility, equality, and inclusivity.  Using and building upon the experiences of F4P Israel, F4P has produced its own series of Coaching Manuals which are issued to all volunteers and is central to the training programme.  Using these manuals, in the annual 5-day international residential workshops (developed by the University of Brighton and Deutsche Sporthochschule, Koln) and follow-up cascade training events in Ireland, volunteers learn and develop practices and games through which the 5 principles outlined above can be identified, reflected upon, and acted out during the delivery of CCSPs in their own towns and villages.  The expansion and sustainability of the Irish programme is being delivered in partnership with University of Ulster and funded by the International Fund for Ireland, British Council and Department for Foreign affairs (Republic of Ireland).

The target groups consist of both boys and girls of all abilities, all forms of less advantaged children, minorities, and all religious back grounds.  The volunteer staff work with teachers and children from various schools or coaches and children from youth football clubs participating in the IFA’s Grass Roots Football Development Programme and the Inishowen School Boys League.  The main CCSPs programme takes place throughout the year, culminating in Football 4 Peace Festivals during which hundreds of children, coaches, parents and local political leaders are brought together to play or watch a series of integrated and friendly football matches through which the fair-play-values-approach to playing the game are illustrated and celebrated.  At present these activities are located in the regions of Inishowen, Limavady and L/Derry.

These local undertakings deepen the programme’s roots making it more resilient and sustainable in the long-term.  Each element of this complex programme is subjected to careful scrutiny and evaluation and the results of are fed back into F4P programme development and made available for dissemination further afield through the website.