Playing for Peace: ‘DOSTI’ – British Council’s newest initiative

Karachi – Pakistan, July 2013: The British Council concluded a major showcasing event of its newest initiative, DOSTI which employs the medium of sports to encourage peace building, tolerance and learning amongst young people from different parts of society. The event took place successfully in Karachi Pakistan, attended by the DOSTI Advisory Group, government representatives, project partners, parents and other relevant stakeholders. Young people engaged in the project, put together a varieties of activities ranging from a tableau, taekwondo display, to football matches and tricks all of which were based on the central theme of conflict resolution and unity.

As one enthusiastic participant said, “The activities were fun! It allowed us to both compete and enjoy…I met so many different people like me. I want more such things happening in Karachi”

The overall purpose of the event was to highlight the project’s achievements since its launch six months ago as well as providing a platform for partners to participate, engage and celebrate their role in making a positive difference in Karachi through sports. The project stands for Developing and Organising Social Transformation Initiatives (DOSTI) and it aims to surpass social barriers by making sports an integral part of the social life of Karachi’s youth.

Barbara Wickham, Provincial Director for Sindh and Baluchistan said at the event: “Young people are the most potent part of our society, and all efforts should be made to nourish them to become responsible citizens and future leaders. And this is what DOSTI promises to deliver; engaging young people in activities using a medium of language that is spoken and understood by all irrespective of their associations: a language of sports.”

The project uses national and local resources as well as UK expertise to build capacity of partners and participants. It develops an understanding of global issues which affect young people and their communities. Moreover, it is tailored to be inclusive and encourages collective youth development – hence cutting across class and income barriers. It also propagates tolerance, unity through competition, intergroup understanding and trust, and eventually appreciation of diversity in the city of Karachi.

The project promotes sports as a powerful tool for conflict prevention and incorporates all forms of physical activity that contribute to physical fitness, mental health and social interaction.

DOSTI is the first such project in Pakistan that uses sports as a medium of communication and expression. It has already been implemented in four densely populated areas in Karachi, including Manghopir, Old Golimar, Lyari and Garden and its surrounding areas, engaging over 2000 school going and community youth between 12 to 18 years in the past one year. This list will soon be expanded to include seven to ten more areas of the city.

The British Council will work closely with its partners, schools and where necessary, community organisations to ensure successful implementation of the project in the respective communities. With the successful conclusion of the event today, DOSTI is expected to achieve new unprecedented heights.

About British Council

The British Council is the UK’s international organisation for educational opportunities and cultural relations. We create international opportunities for the people of the UK and other countries and build trust between them worldwide. We value diversity and difference. We work in over 100 countries in the areas of arts, education and English. In Pakistan, we have been working since 1948.

About DOSTI project

Developing and Organising Social Transformation Initiatives (DOSTI) project was launched in Karachi six months ago with a purpose to break social barriers and promote societal peace by making sports an integral part of the social life of youth in Karachi. The project aims to use the power of sports to engage young people in activities that promote intergroup understanding and interaction. The project is currently implemented in four important and densely populated areas in Karachi including Old Golimar, Manghopir, Lyari and Garden and surrounding areas. Soon it will be implemented in about 7-10 more such areas.

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