From 12-14 September, 17 young activists gathered at the Iraqi Social Forum to take part in a successful training given by Sports Against Violence. The workshop was dedicated to exploring issues relating to peacebuilding and the prevention of violent extremism.
The workshop was both practical and theoretical: together, participants looked at key principles of peacebuilding and prevention of violent extremism, and also discussed how best to conduct effective peacebuilding campaigns. “The workshop explained various concepts relating to violent extremism and nonviolence, and considered the distinction between these terms,” said trainer Ahmed Alaa, adding, “The workshop also included practical application of these ideas, and offered thoughtful planning techniques for events, activities, projects, and campaigns.”
The most important aspect of the workshop was its output, which arose out of a division of all the participants into smaller groups to form teams. Each team cooperated to plan and set up its own campaign during the training. Another trainer, Bara Mahmoud, said, “All 17 trainees, including 8 women, got to know each other through fun ice-breaking exercises which allowed them to see that they shared certain common memories which helped unite the group.” She continued, “The aim of the workshop was to understand what extremism is and, with this understanding in place, to acquire the tools needed to prevent it.” The workshop received enthusiastic reactions from participants who were positive about the discussions they had. The interactions over the course of the 2 days involved productive teamwork and led to the recognition and manifestation of shared values. The trainers were able to attract new volunteers to join the Sports Against Violence organization and motivated them to work on peace issues.
The workshop was organized by Sports Against Violence in cooperation with the Iraqi Civil Society Solidarity Initiative and the Italian organization, Un Ponte Per… within the space of the Iraqi Social Forum and the International Center for Migration and Development, with additional support from the DOZ organization.
Sports Against Violence