Sport, a key tool for integration and socialization among East Timorese youth

Timor Leste (Dili)

  • Country:

    Timor Leste

  • Dates:

    2008 to 2014

  • Beneficiaries:

    1,400 children and young people in difficult circumstances (homeless and gang members)

  • Impact:

    Around 3,700 people reached (families, schools and communities)

  • Project leaders:

    Peace and Sport and eight non-governmental organizations (NGOs) staffed with more than 30 instructors and managers of youth centres from Dili

  • Peace and Sport’s role:

    • Technical and financial support for the eight NGOs to structure and implement the projects within their centres, with assistance from sports federations
    • Capacity-building focusing on building ‘Sport Simple’ equipment, developing sports activities and using them as a social and educational tool: three training sessions for 15 youth leaders at the centres lead by sport federation partners
    • Connecting and coordinating political and sporting institutional partners on the ground
    • Technical and financial support for the NGO Action for Change Foundation from 2011 to 2014to develop various multi-sport centres and ensure the financial independence and sustainability of their actions

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Timor Leste only gained independence in 2002, after years of conflict with Portugal and then Indonesia. In April 2006, riots broke out in Dili forcing 20,000 people to flee. The violence was particularly widespread among some martial arts groups that are influential among youngsters.

The heightened instability since the country gained independence has impeded its economic and social development. Timorese youth, who represent 60% of the population, also face a lack of professional and training opportunities.

Table tennis, badminton, athletics and football

  • Wider access to sporting activities: New sports-based activities are held every week at the NGO-run youth centres
  • Use of sport as a tool to address social issues: The multi-sport centres today use a wide range of sporting activities to strengthen dialogue and social cohesion among young people from diverse backgrounds
  • Development of a partnership dynamic: closer ties have been forged between the Ministry of State for Youth and Sport, the four national sport federations (representing the sports practised) and the eight NGOs, enabling them to devise and implement joint peace through sport projects

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