18/08/2020 - 10:23

After school, Burundian children practice peace through sport

Since the start of the 2019 school year, Burundian teachers have been conducting weekly peace-through-sport activities in many schools across the country. To prepare for the start of the new school year in 2020, it is time to assess the results of the year.

Launched last fall, the new phase of the African Great Lakes program has enabled the implementation of the Peace and Sport Methodology in more than 20 schools in the provinces of Gitega, Makamba and Bujumbura during extracurricular activities. Nearly 1,000 children, 50% of whom are girls, joined the program, supervised by 45 teachers.

Teachers were trained in the Methodology to use sport to promote positive values such as self-esteem, dialogue and respect, to encourage beneficiaries to team up. They then facilitated two activity sessions per week throughout the year.

For Silas Nduwayezu, teacher at the Municipal High School of Giheta, in the Province of Gitega: “During the training, I discovered a new dimension of sport. Not only is it a tool to catch the attention of the children, but it also teaches them the importance of values such as respect, team spirit and discipline. Week after week, we see a real evolution of each one of them. The behavior of the children participating in the program has visibly improved during the activities, at school and in the community.”

In total, more than 50 peace-through-sport sessions were held in each of the participating schools, representing more than 1000 days of activities related to the Methodology. The participants in the activities are aged 12 to 15 and are divided into groups of no more than 30 to ensure quality follow-up. They have shown exemplary attendance with an almost maximum attendance rate throughout the year, which shows a real enthusiasm for the program. They also expressed their wish to meet children from other schools: new Friendship Games are being prepared for the summer 2021!

For Phocas Mpezindagano, Great Lakes Program Coordinator:

“After just one year, I can already see that the program is paying off. Teachers are asking for the program, because the Peace and Sport Methodology brings them a new way of teaching sport, more global, oriented towards the values of peace and development. The students, for their part, have quickly grasped the additional dimension of the activity. They’ve understood the impact that sport can have on society. We’ve explained our approach to parents. And we have the support of the Ministry of Education.”

Since May, due to the acceleration of the Covid-19 pandemic, only ten schools were able to continue activities until the school summer holidays and the second cycle of teacher training had to be postponed.

Next steps in the program: Teachers will soon be introduced to the digital application “Peace and Sport by MyCoach” which allows educators to easily access the Peace and Sport Methodology. For the first time, the various educational contents will be presented in the form of video tutorials and digitised documents in order to work on the positive values of sport. This application will allow better monitoring of activities and their impact on beneficiaries.

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