Football United Myanmar uses the power of sport as a vehicle to engage and mobilise young people and communities to take part in a movement that fosters trust, restores hope and builds more inclusive and cohesive societies in conflict-affected communities. Operating in Kayin State, one of the most war-torn states in Myanmar, Football United Myanmar recruits and trains young leaders as football coaches and peace-builders.
Problem to be tackled
Myanmar is a country of great ethnic and cultural diversity. Officially recognizing 135 ethnic groups, each of which has its own language and culture, Myanmar is also home to the world’s longest standing civil war. While the government of Myanmar strives to implement a nationwide ceasefire agreement, the need for grassroots interventions to help rebuild the social contract between the state and its diverse social groups has never been more apparent.
Football United Myanmar operates programming at 24 project sites in the Kayin State of Myanmar. With a methodology grounded in the work of leading conflict transformation theorists John Paul Lederach (peace-building pyramid) and Johan Galtung (violence triangle), Football United Myanmar implements activities that are focused on creating long term, sustainable peace and does this through the following activities:
a) Playing Football and Promoting Peace: deliver weekly football-based grassroots peace-building and social cohesion programmes in conflict-affected communities led by trained coaches, implement community (or in-school) football for peace gala days at project sites, conduct regional football for peace festivals and an Annual Youth Forum for dissemination of programme achievement, challenges and lessons learned to regional and central authorities.
b) Strengthening Community Engagement and Local Ownership: lead annual community meetings with stakeholders focused on understanding local context and need so as to adjust programming as needed and to generate buy in from community partners to support long term sustainability, recruit and train university students and community volunteers in both football skill training and the peace-building curriculum and implement capacity building workshops for local university students and community members focused on a range of topics from peace-building to mobilising resources.
Football United Myanmar works directly with children and young people ages 12-15 through its weekly football and peace programming; Football United Myanmar will also train volunteer and university student coaches.
With the support from The SOL Foundation, Laureus Sport for Good will be able to continue to tackle the likes of violence, discrimination and disadvantage around the world; both partners believe that Football United Myanmar would represent impactful investments over the next years.
Laureus Sport for Good uses the power of sport to end violence, discrimination and disadvantage for children and young people all around the world. It supports actually more than 200 programmes in over 40 countries with funding and capacity building, helping to change the lives of over 200’000 marginalised and disadvantaged children and young people – from increasing access to education, to tackling gang violence, to supporting the mental health of youth in post-trauma situations.
Laureus Sport for Good was founded under the Patronage of Nelson Mandela, in line with his belief that “sport has the power to change the world” after seeing it play a crucial role in rebuilding post-apartheid South African society.