OVEP Initiatives

Burundi / 2005 Olympic and Sports Education Project

Summary

The project was launched in the framework of the International Year of Sport and Physical Education, 2005.
Each sports activity organised in the framework of this year was preceded by a training session on Olympic education for athletes, coaches, leaders, organisers of sporting and cultural events, students and teachers.

Conferences and debates were organised within the country's university institutions. Special programmes were broadcast by national radio and TV, and by a dozen or so private radio stations.

Objectives

• To use sport as a means of education, mobilisation and communication in order to disseminate the ideals of peace and the integrated development of the populations throughout the country.
• To promote the spirit of peace, tolerance, solidarity and mutual assistance within populations, particularly in the regions where peace is still fragile.

Approach

Organised in the framework of the International Year of Sport, Culture and Physical Education, the main theme of the 2005 Olympic Education Project was "Sport and Physical Education for Peace".

Several sub-themes were addressed: • myths
• the values and symbols of the Olympic Games from Antiquity to the present day
• sport and peace
• sport and education
• sport and health
• sport and development
• women and sport
• sport and the environment.

From these themes, the National Olympic Committee developed objectives which referred to the following observations :
• war crimes, with their consequences on people's lives and more particularly on Burundi's young people
• violence, fear and hate, which are gaining more ground, more particularly in the regions in crisis or those severely affected by war
• the socialising strength of sport as a factor for communication, awareness-raising, mobilisation and social integration.

The "2005 Olympic Education Project" highlighted the role of sport in society and its contribution to the quest for and promotion and consolidation of peace in Burundi.

Conferences and debates were organised in 11 university establishments across the country. Sports and cultural activities and training sessions on Olympic education were also organised for a wider public. Group workshops completed the theory session, allowing for discussions and exchanges between the participants.

Competences and values were worked on, particularly based on the document entitled "Sport for Development and Peace", which analyses the potential contribution of sport to achieving the United Nations Millennium Development Goals.

There were many communications tools used for the programme: banners, signs, videos, posters, radio, television, written press, photos and sports competitions themselves.

Results

In the short-, mid- and long-term, the following results are expected :
• The creation of "Olympic Clubs" within schools and youth associations
• The integration of Olympic education lessons into the national education system
• Broad dissemination of the Olympic values throughout the country, in particular fair play, solidarity and tolerance
• Training and social integration of young people from underprivileged backgrounds
• Bringing together more young people around the ideals of peace, mutual aid and forgiveness
• Re-found mutual confidence, instead of the spirit of revenge and hatred from which the country has suffered.

Practical advice

Olympic education training sessions :

Extracted from the "Olympic education course" module, this session comprises seven chapters. Each chapter is illustrated by photos, images or video clips, and ends with workshop work which is, in our opinion, a focus for study and meditation on the various subjects.

The course manager must first understand that the participants are part of society and that among them are men and women orphaned by war and AIDS, people who have lived through atrocities and some who have been involved in killings, rapes and other abuse, traumatised people who have lost themselves in alcohol and former refugees who have lost their way and have no assistance.

The Burundi conflict is characterised by fear, silence, hate, vengeance and destruction; four elements that must be controlled to offer the solution to the Burundi crisis, characterised for over 15 years by civil war.

Faced with this situation, the teacher, through this course, must attempt to offer answers to a number of problems. To succeed, he must create a friendly atmosphere to:
• rid fear from the group through exchanges; some participants recognise former enemies in the group;
• through exchanges break the silence which lets hate build up and establishes a spirit of permanent vengeance; and
• create a spirit of solidarity and mutual assistance within the group despite the differences linked to a troubled past.

Sports and cultural activities;

Organised in the framework of International Peace and Physical Education Day, these activities must be in conformity with the central theme.

They are supervised by activity hosts who have participated In the Olympic education session. They promote a spirit of fair play, respect for judges and the rules, and are open to everyone without any discrimination.

Internal (banners, signs) and external (radio, television, written press) communications must be focused on these principles.

Conferences and debates;

Organised in a university framework, the conferences and debates are led by specialists. Here we leave the theme "quest for and promotion of peace" addressed previously to address that of human development. The problem that arises is knowing how to make sports practice an integrated tool for development for people.

The speaker must refer to the classic documents from the IOC, which deal with subjects linked to sport such as health, education, the environment, communications and the economy.

Another document which is used by speakers is that entitled "Sport for Development and Peace", taken from the report by the United Nations inter-institution working team on the contribution of sport to achieving the Millennium Goals.

We suggest that the discussion part of the conference must be directed toward concrete proposals that take into account the specificity of each region.

For example, what is sport's contribution to developing the Province of Mwaro, an agricultural region 2,000 metres above sea-level? What must the University of Mwaro do so that young people participate in the development of their region, and what must sport's contribution be to resolving conflicts, raising awareness and mobilising people against the dangers that threaten man and his environment, and the integrated development of communities?

We must pay attention when we address certain issues. One case that is frequently cited is that of the administrator who has insufficient time to work on the development of his town. Over 90 per cent of his time is monopolised by files linked to the many conflicts and problems such as theft, murder, rape, famine, epidemics and national catastrophes (floods, bad weather).

In this case, it is important that certain conflicts are dealt with and resolved by the population itself, and more particularly the associations of young people, which will allow managers to tackle the real development problems of the town. Sport can thus play an important role in a town's development.

In conclusion, we can say that the project was a great success among certain groups and deserves to be followed up.