Stimulating peace and reconciliation

By bringing people living in post-conflict communities to play and interact together across ethnic, social, political and/or religious divides we provide ground for alternative stories and positions to the ones of conflict – stories that aims at helping the participants to include rather than exclude each other, to fight exceptional thinking and to stimulate peaceful coexistence

Open Fun Football Schools

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.