Football tournament promotes peace, unity and reconciliation in Maridi State
The twelve-week football tournament organized in Maridi and Ibba counties in South Sudan’s Maridi State came to a close with Manikakara Football Club emerging as winners of the tournament after they defeated Mudubai Football Club. The team from Ibba county scored 2 goals in the first half and maintained the lead throughout the rest of the match to win 2-0 against the team from Maridi County. The tournament dubbed Boma Health Initiative Peace Cupbrought together youth football teams from twelve Bomas in Maridi and Ibba counties to compete in a football championship aimed at fostering peaceful co-existence and building the spirit of love, forgiveness and reconciliation among the youth of the two neighboring counties.
The Boma Health Initiative Peace Cupis an initiative of the South Sudan programme of Action Africa Help International in partnership with Maridi State Ministry of Information, Culture, Youth and Sports, funded by Bread for the World, a collective Christian voice that supports change in policies, programs, and conditions to eradicate hunger and poverty in the U.S and around the world. For some 3 years since 2013 AAH South Sudan conducted football tournaments in the former Western and Central Equatorial States of South Sudan aimed at promoting peace and unity among the populations of these two states under the Capacity for Post-Conflict Reintegration (CAPOR) project.
CAPOR employed creative approaches to reach out to and educate communities in attitude and behavior changes that enhanced their capacity to participate in peaceful reconstruction and reintegration processes. To advance the gains made with this approach the Boma Health Initiative Peace Cupwas put together under the Regional Primary Health Care project to deepen harmony among several Bomas in Maridi and Ibba counties of Maridi State, one of the 28 states of South Sudan that was part of the former state of Western Equatoria before the original 10 state split up. Bomas are the second largest administrative units after the village headed by a Chief.
Currently, the Boma Health Initiative is being implemented in Maridi, Yei River and Amadi States of South Sudan – a model that delivers an integrated package of health promotion and disease prevention activities in the villages. Maridi State Minister of Information, Culture, Youth and Sports Honourable Peter Saki Silvan, applauded AAH South Sudan for being ambassadors of peace in the states through games and sports and urged continued support for sports activities in order to promote peaceful co-existence among the divided communities in the states. He recognized AAH South Sudan as the only committed non-governmental organization supporting games and sports in the states. He added that through games and sports the idle youth can be engaged in identifying their talents in sports shunning activities unsupportive of peaceful co-existence. He further called on AAH South Sudan to introduce other games and sports such as hand ball and female football to also enable the ladies compete in games and sports as do their male counterparts.