skip to content
Date
12 Apr 2007
Tags
IOC News , Development through sport

Sport for Peace project brings together thousands of Liberians


A five-week “Sport for Peace” programme launched at the beginning of March in Liberia has mobilised thousands of citizens for a get-together. At the time of the final whistle on Saturday, 7 April 2007, 39 games of football, volleyball and kickball involving youngsters and community leaders had been organised nationwide. An average of 2,000 people attended each of these games.
 
Sport as a vehicle
The project used sport as a vehicle to bring people from various counties together – not a matter of course in today’s Liberia – and a multi-stakeholder initiative to foster peace and friendship in the country. At last weekend’s finals in Monrovia the winners shook hands with the President of the Republic of Liberia, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, and the head of the UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL), Alan Doss, who both handed over the trophies.
 
Creating synergies
For the successful organisation of this Sport for Peace event, it was the UNMIL, the Office of the Special representative of the UN Secretary General on Sport for Development and Peace, the Government of Liberia, the International Olympic Committee (IOC), the International Olympic Truce Centre, the Liberian National Olympic Committee (NOC) and several national sporting associations and NGOs which teamed up. At the project launch, IOC President Jacques Rogge said in his message: “This project is an excellent example of how different organisations and institutions can create synergies to achieve a shared objective – the promotion of a peaceful society in Liberia. Sport is, in essence, the only language understood by everyone and has a huge as well as educational impact: sports activities promote interaction, tolerance and the spirit of fair play. If youngsters learn through sport to respect each other, they will be well equipped for their role in contributing to a better society”. The IOC helped to make this project a success by donating large quantities of sports kits and equipment including jerseys, footballs, volleyballs, boots and nets.
 
Addressing societal issues
Through the high numbers of participation at grassroots level, this sports tournament also offered a brilliant platform to raise public awareness about social issues. Several community initiatives targeting the subjects of HIV/AIDS, rape, sexual exploitation and other forms of gender-based violence were carried out over the five weeks.
The last highlight after the final games was a free victory concert featuring top Liberian musicians.
back to top