In the recent times, many sports personalities and charitable organizations have turned to active participants in advocating for and promoting social change in many aspects. Business organizations, as well as institutions in some instances, use sports personalities as their agents in advocating for and promoting social change. Many organizations through their corporate social responsibilities branch have been in the forefront and incorporated social change strategies within their dockets and areas of work and responsibilities. It is imperative to note that sports, in general, have a strong power to bond people together. Therefore, institutions and organizations used this to their advantage, not only to get in contact with the people, but also initiate programs that will enhance social change within the communities that they are part. However, this paper analyzes the Peace Players International (PPI) as a charity organization that embraces sports to transform the community in many parts of the globe through their actions.
Peace Players international as a charity organization was founded in the early 2000s that started as a simple idea and concept that has grown tremendously in the world to reach and cover most parts of the world. It exists almost in all parts of the continent. The organization uses basketball to unite, educate, inspire and transform young people in divided communities through basketball. It believes that through sports especially basketball that brings children together, it enhances peace creation and promotes a good relationship between people in conflicting societies and other places as well (Robinson, 2007). It believes that individual connections create a peaceful world. It, therefore, gets involved in yearlong consistency sports activities that bring together children of the opposite side of the religious, ethnic, and cultural divides to develop a friendship and mutual respect. The organization understands the relevance and importance of peace and the development that is realized in peaceful communities and, therefore, they use strategies that enhance the realization of sustainable peace (Lefebvre, 2013). Besides bridging divides, it also concerns itself with developing leaders and changing perceptions. It has programs, which train young people passionate about sports that measure and steps that they can take to embrace and enhance peaceful coexistence and relationship with other people, who come from the different communities on whom they different one issue or the other even within the same community. The organization currently is active in South Africa, Israel and West Bank, Northern Ireland and Cyprus with plans to expand to other many areas in the world.
PPI relies heavily on donations from individuals and organizations to fund its programs. It also uses the basketball players mainly from the National Basketball Association (NBA) and other major leagues to help it source for resources to enhance its missions and objectives. The organization by concentrating and targeting the young people to promote and enhance peace ideologies within them especially in conflicting communities contributes positively to the realization of sustainable peace. It is because as these children grow and learn, they realize that the misconceptions levied against the opposite party is wrong, and not justified by any scientific prove or fact. Darnell (2011) in his article Sport for development and peace: A critical sociology pointed out that sports, therefore, will enable them bond together and learn each other as it builds and promotes a good relationship. Sustainable peace as the main objective and strategy of PPI, through the children they can achieve and promote sustainable peace because at this early stage they nurture and introduce peaceful strategies between and among the young which have a future to live and change. Basketball in the United States is a sport that has developed to the greatest level that attracts many followers. It makes it easy for PPI to reach its many potential donors bearing in mind that PPI is headquartered in Washington DC in the US. Therefore, choosing basketball as the sports has managed it attract and get sustainable donations and contributions from the society, and hence enable it fund and manage its programs in the areas that they are already established (Huber-Warring, 2008 ).
On the other side, sports especially basketball in the areas that PPI organization operates and focuses on has not managed to attract great attention and attraction such as other sports such as football and soccer. Those areas have a bigger following in other sports other than basketball, and this has made it challenging and tricky to fully realize its potential in terms of outreach. The number of players and children involved is also limited due to the limited number that basketball sports attract due to the facilities involved that limit only a few numbers of people unlike stadiums that can attract and host many people ago at one sitting. It is argued out that if they would have chosen sports to promote their objectives depending with the area of operation, and the sports that attract many followers within the areas the strategy would have worked better for them (Darnell, 2011 ). Irrespective of the challenges that PPI faces, their contribution to changing and shaping societies has received praise and acknowledgment by any.
In conclusion, each and every individual has a role to play to foster and promote social change. There are many areas and fields in the society that people and organizations can concentrate in and be active in advocating for social change. By either getting involved directly in such organizations or by supporting them through donations and contributions of whatever kind one contributes to enhancing social change. Organizations and institutions have to choose strategically the means and methods as well as processes that they engage in to transforming society and the methods that results into greatest positive impact should be prioritized.
Darnell, S. (2011). Sport for development and peace: A critical sociology. London: Bloomsbury Academic.
Huber-Warring, T. (2008). Growing a soul for social change: Building the knowledge base for social justice. Charlotte, NC: IAP-Information Age Pub.
Lefebvre, R. C. (2013). Social marketing and social change: Strategies and tools for health, well-being, and the environment. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
Robinson, A. (2007). Selling Social Change (Without Selling Out): Earned Income Strategies for Nonprofits. Hoboken: John Wiley & Sons.