Cross Cultures is an International NGO with headquarters in Denmark that has specialized in using grassroots sport and especially the Open Fun Football School program (OFFS) as tool in humanitarian actions to facilitate
• Reconciliation and coexistence – i.e. stimulate friendship and cooperation between children and adults living in communities affected by war and conflicts through playing games and grassroots sport;
• Grassroots democracy - i.e. stimulation of the formation of community sport clubs and other associations which are characterized by keywords as voluntarism, equality, community participation, bottom-up civil society, and active citizenship
• Gender equality – i.e. promote female participation on all levels in the world of football, e.g. leaders, coaches and players
• Cross-sector Juvenile Crime Prevention (School + Sport + Police) – i.e. the formation of a cross sector juvenile crime prevention network in local communities in accordance with Scandinavian models.
Theory of Change
Peace and reconcilience
Cross Cultures’ approach to peace and reconciliation derives from the experience of how wars and ethnic conflicts affect people and their possibilities of returning to a peaceful everyday life.
Our experience tells us that moving away from the hatred and mistrust between people affected by civil war and conflict is not easily accomplished. Trust rarely comes from discussing the conflict or the problems. Rather, we follow a practice-oriented approach and believe it can be fostered and sustained through local level activities that facilitate dialogue and cooperation. That is, through the lived experience of having something in common with the people we would otherwise see as ‘others’.
Hence, through the OFFS program we bring people in conflict to play and interact, and challenge the seemingly natural division of people into ethnic, political, or religious affiliations, by providing an alternative. In focusing on the wellbeing and happiness of their children, OFFS give the adults, who are otherwise in conflict, a legitimate excuse to interact. In that sense, children’s football can provide a ‘free space’ where people can interact together amidst societal conflict, and when people play together they are able to connect and redefine their relationship by demystifying each other, having dialogue and building trustful relations.