As part of the post war reconciliatory effort to mend broken relationships caused by the brutal rebel war in Sierra Leone, Forum of Conscience NGO ‘Fambul Tok’ in collaboration with ‘Play 31’during the New Year festivity in Kailahun fostered reconciliation among residents of Kissi Teng chiefdom through football matches.
During the festive season in Kailahun district ‘Play 31’ organized football matches among several female teams and male teams in remote communities of the Kissi areas in Kailahun district where a lot of fun was created among various divided family members from diffrtent communities in that district.
The most interesting match was the one played between the female team of Baidu and Tambateko sections in which young women including lactating mothers were falling over one another while scrambling to secure a score on either side.
At the end of the first match, the female team of Baidu scored one against their opponent from the Tambateko section in the Kissi Teng chiefdom.
In the second match between male teams of Tambateko and Baidu there was a lot of fun as players from both sides exhibited primitive styles but in the end Tambateko managed to launch a goal against the Baidu team.
After the first and second matches, both the losing team and the victory team jointly played against the defending champion of kpekedu section in which the defending team was eventually beaten by one goal.
According to the founder of ‘Play 31’, his organization used the unifying power of football to contribute to the expansion of peaceful societies across the globe.
He explained that ‘Play 31’ was named after Article 31 of the United Nations Convention on the child to play.
To achieve such goal he stated, they work closely with grassroots organizations to bring people together and heal communities, particularly those that have been affected by violence.
“In war-torn Sierra Leone, we are using football in school clubs and in rural communities as part of the reconciliatory efforts that are now taking place” he remarked. The founder concluded that football has proven to bring people together in post –conflict areas, and is true for Sierra Leone where the aged and the young now find common joy in their various communities through football games and disco dance. Since November last year to date 26 villages in Kailahun have participated in an exciting foot ball tournament which in most cases are climaxed by a disco dance, organized by ‘Play 31’.
By Solomon Rogers