Envisioning the role of sport as a tool for community-level peace building in Kisumu, Kenya
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As the sport for development and peace (SDP) movement continues to gain momentum within a variety of contexts, from the international to the grassroots level, there is an increasing need to better understand how SDP organizations and programs are impacting communities at the local level. Program accountability and monitoring remain a challenge for SDP researchers and practitioners, and this study therefore sought to engage with community stakeholders on a small-scale level in order to track program development and progress in a collaborative and case-specific way. This Participatory Action Research (PAR) study sought to develop a deepened understanding of the potential role of sport in an ongoing grassroots, community-level peace building process, with the intention to explore how the community had rebuilt and evolved since a period of conflict, and where community members felt there was potential for using sport in an ongoing peace building process. The research incorporated a series of semi-structured interviews, small group discussions, and a photovoice project with youth participants. Though the program activities are early in their implementation, the findings of the project indicate that participants see possibility and potential for sport’s role in the development of their school culture and the wider community peace building process. The findings also prompted reflection on the PAR process and point to a useful model for conducting PAR studies at the grassroots, community level: following a community – case – community sequence that first seeks to understand the community context before focusing on a specific case, then broadens the research scope back to the larger community.
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