Play­Hand­ball part of the Glo­Kno­Co School in Brus­sels

Written by Moritz Rottmann and Vincent Albers

Sport for development and peace. From the 16th to the 20th of May 2022, we were part of the second part of the GloKnoCo School, this time held in Brussels. This is a project which is co-funded by the Erasmus+ programme of the European Union. The students from different universities were taught about sport for development and peace (SDP) by representatives of different NGOs and professors who are working in this field. The universities which took part are the University of Brighton, the Paderborn University, and the Palacký University Olomouc. Beside PlayHandball the NGOs INEX, FHPU and MSIS were represented. Our representatives were Moritz Rottmann and Vincent Albers who are both volunteers and currently living in Germany. In a short report they tell us about the programme and their experiences of the field trip to Brussels.

“I am Vincent, and currently studying mechanical engineering and finishing an apprenticeship as a technical product designer. In September I will go to South Africa and start a volunteer service at PlayHandball. I am Moritz, I am currently part of the Trilateral Youth Coaches Encounter (TYCE), a virtual exchange and capacity building programme between young people from Germany, South Africa, and Kenya.

As part of our current and future engagement with PlayHandball we joined the GloKnoCo school and one week field trip to Brussels.

In these days, the plan was to visit different NGOs, meet people and a concluding conference day, all regarding SDP. The first visit was at the organisation Play4Peace at their P4P house. The minister of Climate, Environment, Sustainable Development and Green Deal of Belgium, Zakia Khattabi, held a speech about SDP in Belgium and the UN SDGs. She pointed out how important it is that development is sustainable, especially because we are living in a consumer society. Then the founder, Ayman Ramdani, told the story about Play4Peace and how they want to provide young people with guidance and support regardless of their history.

At the EU Olympic centre was shown what projects the EU Olympic committee is active in. Besides their main task, representing the interests of the national Olympic committees, they developed a policy regarding SDP in 2009. Nowadays a lot of their projects are recovery plans for the COVID-19 crisis.

The second NGO we visited was BX Brussels. This is a football focused organisation founded by the former football player Vincent Kompany. Their mission is to include children from different minorities into the society by giving everyone, irrespective of their history, the opportunity to be a member of a football team. It was a lot of fun when BX Brussels gave the whole group a football training session to show how their team works.

As mentioned above, the last day was a conference day. At first, two of the leading researchers for SDP, Prof. Cora Burnett from the University of Johannesburg, and Prof. Fred Coalter from the Vrije Universiteit Brussel, held speeches about their perspectives of SDP.  Following, we as students presented the Theories of Changes (ToC) of the NGOs which we prepared in international groups before the week in Brussels. The ToC shows the link between actions and impact of the activities an organisation is doing.  Of course, one group presented the ToC of PlayHandball. The day finished with a panel discussion amongst different experts in the field of SDP from academics to practitioners (employees of NGOs).

We made many new contacts with amazing people from different countries and gained great insights into the work of some NGOs. Our favourite event was the last day of the conference where we could listen to the thoughts of SDP experts and discuss with them face-to-face about this topic. That was very enriching.

Our conclusion as representatives of PlayHandball and at the same time as beneficiaries of this great opportunity is: “This project was a great way to see how different organisations (governmental and nongovernmental) embrace sport for development and peace. PlayHandball can only benefit by sharing knowledge, whether it is teaching something or getting taught something. Furthermore, we could see the importance of expanding PlayHandball’s network in- and outside of South Africa and Kenya”.