Sports 4 Connecting Communities

Kashmir Development Foundation initiated a pilot project “Sports 4 Connecting Communities, with the aim to build relations, bridge divisions and develop networks across communities & cultures for reconciliation, conflict transformation, peace and development, within all the regions of the former states of Jammu and Kashmir.

This was done by developing strong and vibrant sports networks for hosting inter- and intra-regional, and across ceasefire line/line of control (LOC) sports events; and to help remove barriers in transforming conflict and contribute in a more productive Indo-Pak peace process in Kashmir, inclusive of Kashmiri voices from all the regions of Jammu and Kashmir.

CAMPAIGN OBJECTIVES

“Sports 4 Connecting Communities” project aims:

- To build relations, bridge divisions and develop networks across communities & cultures for
reconciliation, conflict transformation, peace and development within all the regions of the former states of
Jammu and Kashmir by developing strong and vibrant sports networks for hosting inter- and intra-regional,
and across ceasefire line/line of control (LOC) sports events, and;
- To help in removing barriers in transforming conflict and contribute to a more productive Indo-Pak peace process throughout Kashmir, inclusive of Kashmiri voices from all the regions of Jammu and Kashmir.

HOW THE OBJECTIVES WERE ACHIEVED

The Sports 4 Connecting Communities project in Jammu and Kashmir has been a unique intervention.

For the first time in the history of cross LOC initiatives to support people-to-people contact, with the aim of unlocking the potential of sports in building a just peace and sustainable development in all the regions of Jammu and Kashmir.

This project has opened new opportunities to broaden the constituency of peace and reconciliation efforts and diversify the range of potential entry points to influence change. The project identified three locally-popular sports within various regions of J&K, namely polo, volleyball and football.

CAMPAIGN INNOVATIONS

This was a unique idea to connect divided communities in Jammu and Kashmir - people who are living in conflict zones and have been the victims of ongoing enmity between India and Pakistan since 1947.

Sport 4 Connecting Communities was introduced and implemented across the divided line of control in Jammu and Kashmir.

It brought the issue up and helped to reduce tension, bringing communities of different faiths closer for reconciliation.

CAMPAIGN IMPACT

KDF managed to establish meaningful communication channels and networking between representatives of two sports associations (polo, volleyball) in AJK, Gilgit Baltistan, and Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh.

KDF also managed to establish a communication link between AJK and Gilgit Batistan Football Associations. It is estimated that 5000 plus members from the general public attended the different activities under this project.

CHALLENGES FACED

- An enabling sporting environment and support for cross LOC events could contribute more in productive Indo-Pak peace process throughout Kashmir, inclusive of Kashmiri voices.
- The local civil society and sports associations working in partnership with international NGOs, national sports federations and the sports and allied departments within regional governments across LOC could facilitate and contribute more in developing a sustainable Sport 4 Connecting Communities project.
- The three Sports associations (polo, volleyball and football) in AJK, Gilgit Baltistan and Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh need sustainable support for 3-5 years to enhance their capacity to engage with all stakeholders and thereby be able to influence sports policy at regional and national level and work with the local government infrastructure for advancement of sports opportunities within different regions and across ceasefire line/LOC in Jammu and Kashmir.

LESSONS LEARNT

Interregional sports events between AJK-Gilgit Baltistan and Jammu-Kashmir-Ladakh, on a regular basis, can build relations, bridge divisions and develop networks across communities & cultures for reconciliation, conflict transformation, just peace and sustainable development, within all the regions of the former state of Jammu and Kashmir.

A cross LoC polo, volleyball or football event in the near future could be a game changer for a more productive Indo-Pak peace process regarding Kashmir, inclusive of Kashmiri voices.

A more inclusive campaign is required, by involving local civil society organizations across the divided and disputed state of Jammu & Kashmir, with a sufficiently large budget and sustainable and integrated initiatives.

COUNTRY

United Kingdom

CITY

Manchester

WEBSITE

http://www.kdfajk.org/

FACEBOOK PAGE

https://www.facebook.com/KDFUK/?fref=ts

TWITTER PAGE

https://twitter.com/kdfajk