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Peace education through soccer

Kofi Annan has said that "sport has long displayed an inspiring ability to overcome national, political, ethnic and cultural differences…It can be especially powerful in instilling in children and young people universal values such as respect and tolerance." 

The Elman Football Club in Somalia, supported by Concern, could be said to be working from these assumptions.

Get along

The club, which is comprised of people from different clans, aims to show young Somalis that clans can get along. The team tries to counter the deep mistrust among the clans, a result of years of war and chaos. They travel the country, in some of the most dangerous areas, playing local teams along the way. They also promote peace amongst their supporters, who are encouraged to behave respectfully at the matches.

On top of all this, the football team itself has become very successful over the years. The bulk of the Somali national team is regularly made up of players from the Elman club.

Youth programme

Recently the team has expanded its youth clinic programme for displaced children. For many Somali children, life is not easy. Violence and instability are often a part of everyday life. Somalia has been without a government since the current on-going conflict began 1991. Children have been affected by this conflict in many ways – they have been active in combat and access to education has become severely limited. Only one out of every five children in Somalia currently attends school.

Safe place

The children who participate in the Elman programme are provided with a safe place to go where they can gain essential skills in teamwork, self-confidence, and communication. Through the programme, the children also attend an informal school where they learn reading, writing, maths, and life-skills.

Read more about Somalia.