Global Reconciliation and IBISS: Working in Rio de Janeiro's Favelas

AFL skills workshop in action, Vila Nova Day 7, 17 October 2013. Photo: Derek Hayes

AFL skills workshop in action, Vila Nova Day 7, 17 October 2013. Photo: Derek Hayes

This story in the Guardian is about the work of one of Global Reconciliation’s partner organisations – the Brazilian Institute of Innovations for Social Health (IBISS). Over the past 20 years, IBISS has been working to support people living in Rio de Janeiro’s ‘favela’ communities. IBISS delivers social inclusion and reconciliation projects including in the areas of health, education, sport, the arts, legal services, and street work.

IBISS projects include the ‘Soldados Nunca Mais’ (Soldiers Never More) program, that uses football games to engage young people involved in the drug trade as child soldiers, encouraging and supporting them to leave the drug trade and re-enter education and other life paths. The ‘Soldados Nunca Mais’ program is discussed in detail in the recent book chapter written by Dr Elizabeth Kath (RMIT/Global Reconciliation) and IBISS Director Nanko Van Buuren.  The chapter – “Soldados Nunca Mais: Child Soldiers, Football and Social Change in Rio de Janeiro’s Favelas” was published in the recent Palgrave Macmillan book Global Sport-For-Development: Critical Perspectives, edited by Nico Schulencorf and Daryl Adair. 

In October 2013, as part of a reconciliation learning exchange led by Dr Elizabeth Kath and Dr Pippa Grange, 18 Australians traveled to Rio de Janeiro to spend 8 days in the communities where IBISS works, hosted by IBISS staff. Among those in the group were 9 AFL Players from the Richmond Football Club, and two young Indigenous players from the Korin Gamadji Institute. The visit was part of an action research project titled ‘Changing the Score: An Australia-Brazil Sport for Reconciliation Exchange” led by RMIT University, Bluestone Edge and Global Reconciliation in partnership with IBISS, Richmond Football Club, and the Korin Gamadji Institute. The project was the 5th in a long term series of 'Reconciliation Exchanges' led by Global Reconciliation and partners.

Victoria Baldwin