Published on Voices

If You’re Watching the World Cup, You Don’t Want to Miss This

Team Burundi, Great Lakes Peace Cup
“Sport has the power to change the world. It has the power to unite in a way that little else does.”
- Nelson Mandela

Even though I didn’t grow up watching football, admittedly I’ve developed an interest in the sport during this month-long emotional World Cup soap opera. And like me, millions of people will be glued to their television sets for this Sunday’s finals match between Argentina and Germany. 
Above and beyond the superstars, the fans and controversies, I learned more about how this beautiful game is used to build communities, overcome social and cultural divides and advance peace. It seems sports have a way of changing the lives of people around the world - but what does this exactly look like?

“Scoring for Peace” is a documentary about the healing power of the game. It follows the stories of African amateur athletes Ismael, Safari and Okello as they competed to win the first Great Lakes Peace Cupa tournament organized by the World Bank Group Africa Region.

“So if I play, if a friend comes, we play together there we go. That friend will be mine, and mine forever.”
Okello, Midfielder, Team Uganda
The region has been one of violent conflicts that saw many young children forcibly recruited to fight. There’s fragile peace now, but a lot of former combatants have found it difficult to be accepted back in their communities. The Peace Cup tournament gathered 500 players composed of community members and ex-combatants from Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, and Uganda who developed trust and played alongside each other as peers.  

​The documentary captures the potential of hope and reconciliation between divided communities. It premiered at the World Bank in Washington D.C. and had several well-attended screenings. And now, everyone has the opportunity to watch the entire film and share its beautiful story. “Scoring for Peace” is now available online for free. Just like the World Cup, it’s fascinating, emotional and a lot of fun.
 As we support Argentina or Germany for Sunday’s match, let’s also score for peace - share the story. 

Related link:  Scoring for Peace Website
Related posts: The Great Lakes Peace Cup, ​Scoring For Peace


Pabsy Pabalan

Digital Engagement Officer and the Channel Manager of World Bank YouTube and Instagram

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