Recent research suggests young people are not attracted to conflict for ideological reasons but more as a status-building activity (to gain respect) and in response to genetic drivers for competition and group identity. This applies particularly to young men. Sport is unique in meeting these drivers in a non-violent way that can reduce and prevent vulnerable young people from being drawn into the conflict.
Sport has the power to unite the millennial generation in a way that politics and tribal connections do not – by providing a vehicle for dialogue that is based on effort and not via favourable political connections. Sports for development and peace (S4DP) is a nascent but growing part of the international development sector that recognises the role sports plays in building resilient communities, fostering inclusion and bringing people together.
Secondly, it provides a safe and positive outlet for young people to focus their energies, frustrations and passions. Recent research suggests that young men are attracted to conflict not dueto ideological reasons but in fact as a status-building activity (to gain respect), a biological propensity to the thrill of competition and the need for community. If non-violent methods to gain peer group respect and satisfy a hunger for competition can be socialised across the culture, this will hopefully reduce and prevent those from being attracted to join terrorist organisations – thereby ending the current conflict.
The Hiatus Foundation (THF) is the brainchild of a former-Royal Marines Commando officer, who witnessed first-hand the tragedy of conflict on individuals and communities. Following his service, he planned a self-funded visit to Afghanistan in 2017 where he met athletes competing in disciplines ranging from mountain biking, parkour, skiing, rugby to marathon racing. He was profoundly impressed by their courage and determination to support each other despite immense challenges. He returned convinced in the power of sport to unite and a determination to help these athletes in whatever way he could. He also returned with a wider vision of the potential for Afghanistan to become a world-class adventure sports destination, due to its challenging geography, incredible scenery, hospitable culture and fascinating history.
‘Sports have the power to change the world.
It has the power to inspire, the power to unite people in a way that little else does.
It speaks to youth in a language they understand.
Sports can create hope, where there was once only despair.
It is more powerful than governments in breaking down racial barriers.
It laughs in the face of all types of discrimination.
Sports is the game of lovers.’
- Nelson Mandela
Action cameras for afghanistan (AC4A)
The AC4A project was realised to recycle early generations of action cameras (such as GoPro) for use by recognised sports teams to showcase their skills through social media
The everest project
TEP is an ambitious project to help the first Afghan mountaineer to conquer Everest.
The thinking behind this is to create a good news story for the country, and help all athletes to aim high in their sporting goals.
trauma medicine training (TMT)
The intent for the TMT project is to get crucial life-saving trauma medicine knowledge into the minds of young athletes should the worst happen to them.
The ability to improvise a tourniquet or deliver CPR could be enough to save a fellow athlete’s life.