Here at PPI-NI, a phrase that is thrown around a lot is “we are always trying to work ourselves out of a job.” If there were no need for PPI-NI to continue working as a cross-community charity in Belfast and other cities around Northern Ireland, we will have done our job! Though great progress has been made over recent years, the need for cross-community work is still very much needed. As Dr. King said, “true peace is not merely the absence of tension.” However, when members of the divided communities step up and take on the responsibility for cross-community work, the potential for long-term impact and sustainability is endless.
Last week, PPI-NI was hired through the “Shared Education Signature Project” to facilitate a 2-day intensive training for six teachers to deliver a three school sports-based cross-community program. American Fellows, Joe and Sally lead the teachers through PPI-NI’s Institutional Capacity Building training. During the training, PPI-NI supported the teachers to create a curriculum that mirrored the staple PPI twinning program.
Yesterday, the teachers led the first of four sessions of the first ever PPI-NI teacher lead twinning program. Anyone who knows teachers or is a teacher, (s/o to Liz Smith, Joe’s mom) knows one thing about them, and that is that they are unbelievably organized! When PPI arrived on the scene to check things out this morning, the six mixed teams were already arranged by color, name tags on each of the participants seats, and the gym was set up for the rotations for the day. The theme for the first session focused on Similarities and Differences. Two teachers from each school facilitated a station on their own and the teams rotated from community relations, to team building, and finally to basketball, of course!!
Before the day ended, the PPI staff facilitated some fun competitions between the teams, and the participants got to spend break time and lunch together. Check out this video and ask yourself the question; “If they didn’t have their school uniform on, would I be able to tell that these kids are from different communities” I think the answer will be quite obvious!!
To find out more about PPI-NI’s “Institutional Capacity Building” training program, email PPI-NI managing director Gareth Harper – firstname.lastname@example.org.