This week’s blog is written by Sally Nnamani, International Fellow at PeacePlayers International – Northern Ireland
Monday evenings here at PeacePlayers International – Northern Ireland have become synonymous with basketball training or “open gym” as it is referred to in the States. Every Monday, participants in our Champions4Peace program get together to enjoy pick-up basketball. PPI-NI introduced the Monday trainings as an experiential learning opportunity and as a pilot for a recreation league within PeacePlayers that focuses on a small group of committed PPI-NI participants who are interested in increasing their technical basketball skills as well as using that space to train, develop, and cultivate their confidence in delivering PPI-NI coaching curriculum. When we introduced U-12 and U-16 teams to the Basketball Northern Ireland (BNI) league earlier this year, our participants saw firsthand how being a member of a team strengthened relationships that crossed religious backgrounds to form lasting bonds. Our goal is to continue providing opportunities that allow our participants to gain confidence and build relationships that transcend religious divides. The hope is that as participants move up the leadership pipeline, they emerge as leaders not only within PeacePlayers, but in their communities and other areas of their lives.
The video below gives you a front seat to the power of sport, in this case, basketball and how it is bringing together young people from different communities in Belfast to form friendships in a safe environment and have their perceptions challenged and hopefully, changed for the better.