Today’s post comes from PPI’s Technical Assistance Program Director, Brian Cognato.
For the past few months, PeacePlayers International (PPI) has been developing a new technical assistance and training program, designed to share what the organization has learned over a decade of bridging divides, developing leaders and changing perceptions with other organizations all over the world interested in using sport to improve their communities.
We’ve been working on this mostly behind the scenes so far, conscious that a useful training program requires more than a good resume and a seminar here and there. Training and technical assistance is a different animal than running your own programs, and we’ve taken that challenge seriously, learning all we can about the field and best practices before launching.
With two events in the past week, however, we’re proud to move our technical assistance services from behind the curtain and into the public eye. Not that we’re finished learning – quite to the contrary, we’re learning more every day – but now we’re eager to share what we can do with the rest of the world.
This past week’s first event was the Laureus Sports for Good Foundation Global Summit, held from Oct. 30th to Nov. 2nd in London. The Laureus Sports for Good Foundation has been one of PPI’s longest standing partners, providing our very first institutional grant in 2002. The Foundation supports organizations all over the world using sport to improve communities, and – for the first time ever this year – it brought them all together to share knowledge and experiences. We were lucky enough to be able to facilitate two sessions at the Summit, one working alongside Cindy Coltman of Women Win on “Breaking Barriers through Sport” and one with a PPI all-star team including Joanne Fitzpatrick and Rory O’Neil from PPI – Northern Ireland and Sbo Vilakazi from PPI – South Africa.
This last session spotlighted PPI’s unique approach to peace education, combining a curriculum developed in partnership with an American consulting firm called The Arbinger Institute with participatory basketball activities. PPI believes this curriculum is crucial to its approach to peacebuilding – allowing it to illustrate to young people the dynamics that cause conflict in the first place, so that our programs go beyond simple “contact” – and the Laureus attendees who sampled the curriculum seemed to agree, including Academy Members like Mick Doohan and Dawn Frazier, who participated in some of the activities.
The week’s second event focused even more on this approach to peacebuilding, as Joanne Fitzpatrick made the trek from London to join PPI’s long-time friend and go-to peacebuilding guru Chad Ford in Chicago. Ford is both a writer for ESPN.com and a professor of conflict resolution at Brigham Young University Hawaii. (For the record, that’s a combined 8,204 miles of travel between them.) PPI partnered with Beyond the Ball, which uses basketball to engage young people in Little Village, to offer an introductory clinic in its approach to peacebuilding through sport to organizations through the city using basketball for youth development, including the South Chicago Neighborhood House, Enlace Chicago, The Crece Foundation, the Bickerdike Redevelopment Corporation, Positive Coaching Alliance – Chicago, Claretian Associates, CLOCC and World Sport Chicago.
Over the next few months, PPI is going to help Beyond the Ball add a new element to their already robust curriculum, aimed at giving young people a specific way to understand conflict and their role as influencers in their community. The lessons learned in that project will then be shared with other organizations as they too try to give young people in Chicago a new tool to overcome conflict.
Watch PPI’s website and this space for more about these events – both of which are only the first stages in multistage collaborations – and PPI’s technical assistance program in general. If you’re interested in PPI’s technical assistance and training services, contact Brian Cognato at email@example.com.