The Friendship Games are a flagship event of the 2023 International Day of Sport for Development and Peace celebration. They will take place in Lomé on March 31, under the auspices of the first Olympic medalist in the history of Togo and Champion for Peace Benjamin Boukpeti.
Peace activities through rugby involving nearly 200 beneficiaries of the ALAFIA program and a thematic institutional meeting at the French Institute in Lomé will highlight the actions and progress of the program, and present the role of the stakeholders involved. Organized with the support of the French Embassy in Togo, the conference “Sport, a tool for cohesion and social transformation” will offer a moment of exchange with the Olympic Medalist and Champion for Peace, Benjamin Boukpeti, the Founder and Director of Terres en Mêlées, Pierre Gony, the CEO of Peace and Sport, Jean-Jérôme Perrin-Mortier, the President of Terres en Mêlées Togo, Ouro-Koumoni Mahawiya, and student researchers from the University of Paris Nanterre.
Alafia, which means peace in several west-African dialects, is a program of education for development through rugby, deployed in school and extracurricular time in Burkina Faso, Madagascar, Morocco and Togo. It aims to contribute to the emergence of a generation of educators and young leaders open to the world, capable of using sport to engage in the fields of education and sustainable development in Africa. The implantation of the Alafia program in Togo relies on a partnership with Peace and Sport based on two axes:
– Training of educators based on the Peace and Sport Methodology dedicated to building a culture of peace.
– Evaluating the impact of the Alafia program in partnership with the Institute of Social Sciences of Politics of the University of Paris Nanterre in order to improve the design and implementation of the program.
Pierre Gony, Director of Terres-en-Mêlées, said:
“Since 2015, Terres en Mêlées has been transforming rugby into an educational tool capable of spreading a culture of peace among youth in Togo and Burkina Faso. Through the ALAFIA program and the EDS pedagogy created by Terres en Mêlées and deployed to the educational community, thousands of children are now growing up with the values of peace and citizenship. We are happy to be able to count on our partner Peace and Sport to help us grow and disseminate our program in West Africa and more particularly in Togo during the Friendship Games.”
Jean-Jérôme Perrin Mortier, CEO of Peace and Sport, declared:
“Highlighting initiatives that provide community-based solutions through sport is one of the objectives of the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace, celebrated every April 6. We are therefore very pleased to join Terres en Mêlées, a member organization of the international coalition ‘Peacemakers Project’, peace educators and beneficiaries to celebrate the progress of the ALAFIA program, a program whose monitoring and evaluation will demonstrate the impact of peace through sport initiatives on the ground.”
Benjamin Boukpeti, Togo’s first ever Olympic Medalist and Champion for Peace, added:
“The support of athletes who are members of the Champions for Peace collective is a central axis of the ‘Peacemakers Project’ implemented by Peace and Sport on three continents in partnership with several field organizations, including Terres en Mêlées. Today, I deeply desire to be more actively involved so that the youth of my country can live in peace and work to do better day after day. This is becoming a little more possible thanks to Peace and Sport and the relevance of the coalitions put in place by the organization.”