Play31 works in Sierra Leone, one of the world’s poorest countries, which was torn apart by a brutal civil war and which has recently experienced a devastating Ebola epidemic. Like the civil war, the Ebola split rural societies and undermined the trust that is necessary for any local community to function and prosper. In addition, bad governance and corruption further complicated the route towards reconciliation and sustainable development across Sierra Leonean society. Especially women and children suffer from violations of basic rights, such as protection against violence and access to health facilities and education.
Play31 was founded in 2008 as a collaboration between Danish and Sierra Leonian forces. In this period, Play31’s Danish co-founder worked as a volunteer for the local reconciliation organisation Fambul Tok. Through this experience, it was clear that there was a need and opportunity for contributing to the ongoing reconciliation process by adding an essential component: football. Or as we like to call it, The Beautiful Game. Football brings people together across cultural, religious, and political divides, and unites people who fought against each other in the civil war.
As you can read more about under the “Football for reconciliation” in the menu, our work quickly grew to include workshops for strengthening capacities within human rights and conflict resolution as well as women’s rights, and together these elements constitute the core of our work.