#WATWB: Using Football to Beat Tribal Violence

Posted: 2017/07/28 in Blogging
Tags: , , , , ,

As time passes, the world becomes more and more chaotic. Humanity has been divided along every possible line and almost every nation feels the effects of the split. As our population continues to grow against the ever-dwindling resources, the cracks and crevices originally created by differences in race, gender, religion, tribes, class, etc, are increasingly turning into irreparable chasms and valleys. And at this rate, we might soon find ourselves in a world where everyone is everyone’s enemy.

In Kenya, my country, the divisions along tribal lines have escalated in recent years and they are hurting us all. The politicians, the chief national leaders who are also known for their cunning opportunism, had long since ascertained the advantages of ruling a disunited nation and exploited the situation to the hilt.

We have national elections next month–August 2017–and the country is already too tense. Regions have been marked as “hotspots” of violence and people are running away from one another. Meanwhile Kenyans online engage in a vicious tribal war of words.

It is too sad. I am terrified. I feel like a foreigner here.

It is for this reason that for today’s WE ARE THE WORLD BLOGFEST #WATWB, I searched for a subject that might, even remotely, deal with the present situation in Kenya.

So meet the extraordinary Fatuma Abdulkadir Adan who grew up in a tribally violent region of Kenya, and who, instead of threatening the warring tribes with arrests and convictions, as our leaders often do–though in vain–has found a common interest amongst the people of her region and uses it to bring them together and champion for peaceful co-existence.

Under the program she calls “Shoot to score, not to kill”, she has mobilised the youth to play Football together and hold dialogues about their cultures and causes of conflicts among them. So far she has 10,000 youth participating in the games, each one of them being an ambassador for peace.

Fatuma studied law, the knowledge of which she also uses to fight for the rights of the vulnerable women in those regions.

Her story is here.


Fatuma Abdulkadir Adan, Source: BBC

This is the fifth celebration of the WE ARE THE WORLD BLOGFEST #WATWB which is carried out every last Friday of the month, and which aims to spread love and positiveness in this vulnerable world. A celebration of heroes who can still restore our faith in humanity, especially in this period when our world seems to be full of endless series of horrible happenings.

Our generous co-hosts for July are Damyanti Biswas, Simon Falk, Roshan Radhakrishnan, Inderpreet Uppal, and Sylvia Stein.



To sign up for We Are The World Blogfest, please see the guidelines below.


  1. Keep your post to below 500 words, as much as possible.
  2. All we ask is you link to a human news story on your blog on the last Friday of each month, one that shows love, humanity, and brotherhood. Something like this news  about a man who only fosters terminally ill children.
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  1. What a wonderful woman, and what a great way to bring peace through sport. Thanks for sharing this Peter. May your nation find a way out of strife into brotherhood and prosperity.

  2. Dan Antion says:

    This is s great story, Peter. We (US) have seen how easy it is to slide back into violence and hatred. We complain about sports being violent, but replacing violence with healthy rivalries remains the goal.

    • Peter Nena says:

      Indeed, Dan. To win over a perceived enemy is indeed the greatest goal in dispute resolutions. This woman has given me hope. Thanks.

  3. bikerchick57 says:

    Using football to bring about peace? I love this woman and how she uses sport to address violence and cultural differences. I believe that is one major reason why there is hatred, violence and war – because we don’t take the time to learn about others’ culture and way of life and that makes it easier to not care about them. Good for her for finding a way to help Kenya’s fight for a peaceful existence.

    • Peter Nena says:

      Thank you Mary. She has achieved so much already, getting over 10,000 youth from initially warring sides to form teams and play together. I adore her.

  4. Sharukh Bamboat says:

    Hey Peter, how are you? This is a great story you have shared. Believe me, India is not too different as politicians and bureaucrats use the diversity of Indian culture to break the unity of the country. The sad part is that people are falling for it. I really appreciate Fatuma’s hard work and dedication and creative thinking of bringing people together through football. In some way, your post just reminded me of a movie Queen of Katwe which is also a phenomenal sports movie. Have you seen it?

    • Peter Nena says:

      Sharukh! We haven’t spoken for such a long time, my friend! I have been thinking that politics is the death of humanity. Politicians are the true human vultures, only thriving on social decay, wars and death. I have not watched Queen of Katwe but I must now look for it. Thank you, man.

  5. Tish Farrell says:

    What a brave, magnificent woman, Peter. Thank you for your post. I’m also hoping against hope that your upcoming elections are conducted peaceably, but as you say, politicians thrive on divide and rule. So sad that we go on letting them play that game, in whatever place we inhabit. Take care, my friend.

    • Peter Nena says:

      Tish! How are you? It is a long time since I you passed by here. I thought you had forgotten all about me. I have some hope that things will take a different path this time, though I’m still terrified. The worst part about human conflicts is that there is always an alternative way, a peaceful way. Imagine going through life in perpetual conflict, surrounded by hate and war and death everywhere you turn to, yet knowing that peace was possible all along. That the person wanting to kill you could have been your friend and ally. This is what haunts me about the world. Our so-called leaders make it look like there is no other way but war, but they lie.
      Thank you Tish.

  6. Susan Scott says:

    Thanks Peter for this wonderful story of Fatuma Abdulkadir Adan using football to unite in among the only too real divisions that plague our world. It’s amazing how sport is such a unifying factor. As you probably know, here in South Africa there are factions within factions even within the governing party. I clicked on the broadcast link you provided and tried to find her particular story – when there is more time I will source her story and listen.

    • Peter Nena says:

      Thank you Susan. Our world is plagued by many things, all of which we can ourselves deal with. This woman proved that conflicts arising from our differences can be solved peacefully. Finding common interests among warring sides is better than using threats against them. Thanks.

  7. What a powerful and committed woman – Fatuma Abdulkadir Adan is indeed a bright light and gift to her nation. And a very clever woman as well – may her “Shoot to Score” program be wildly successful and help foster unity and peace.

  8. Fantastic post, Peter! Fatuma is an incredible woman and understands that communication is key when trying to unite people. I really hope “Shoot to Score” is successful and becomes an example to others! Thanks so much for sharing this! #WATWB

  9. dweezer19 says:

    This si amazing and wonderful; and dare I say it? It took a the feminie perspective to facilitate positive change amidst the tumult of our current negative global political and social climate.

  10. hilarymb says:

    Hi Peter – thanks for putting up the BBC World Service link – I love their stories … but I’d never heard this one before. What an amazing woman Fatuma is … and how many barriers she is breaking down including her father’s … wonderful story – brilliant to know about. Football giving kids – boys and girls – a way to give hope to the northern region of Kenya. I do hope all will be well with the elections coming up – we need Fatuma’s ideas to spread much more … thank you – excellent story – cheers Hilary

    • Peter Nena says:

      Hi. Myself I wish there were more Kenyans like her. Politicians have polarised the country too much. They are just short of setting it on fire literally. So people like Fatuma are true heroes over here. Defying the odds to unite people. I am grateful to her.

  11. another wonderful Kenyan, African, global,universal woman. I am so sorry for the stress Kenyans are facing. I can only hope that more men and women like Fatuma will come forward to add their drop of light into the bucket of light. If we get enough buckets….we can dispel the darkness!!! Thank you again for this wonderful share Peter.

    • Peter Nena says:

      Thank you Cybele. She awakened hope in me. There are Kenyans who mean well despite the divisive politics bent on destroying this society. There are humans who wish the world was better than it is in terms of our relationships with one another. I think they are really the ones that still keep humanity going. Thanks, my friend.

  12. simonfalk28 says:

    Fatuma is a courageous and inspiring woman. Among the political who live by slogans, how very clever of her to live by “shoot to score”. May her work increase in its impact. I was sad to read of your discomfort in your own nation, Peter. While you certainly have a place among our WATWB team, to feel estranged from your own nation is an awful pain. May your people find leaders of vision, justice and peace. Thank you for your post and your presence with us 🙂 Simon’s Still Stanza #WATWB

    • Peter Nena says:

      Thank you Simon. Though it is increasingly difficult to find leaders with such qualities, we can still hope for the best. Besides, there are people like Fatuma and the #WATWB team around. Thanks.

  13. I caught a similar tale in National Geographic about a famous soccer player who is building such bridges in Africa among people who were enemies. I love that it is a woman in this post. It’s a profound commentary that something seemingly so simple as a game could redeem hearts.

    • Peter Nena says:

      She has achieved something. Northern Kenya was calm during the elections. A lot of people were murdered, though, in Nairobi and other parts of the country by the recently militarized police force and some Kikuyu tribal thugs known as locally Mungiki. I hope Kenya gets more women like her to heal this place. Thanks Diana.

  14. Good offering Peter!

  15. I feel like I’ve just discovered your blog, when I’ve always read it before! So many inspiring people, Fatuma is so awesome. What a football fan! I’m amazingly inspired.
    I love these, what you’re doing here.

  16. dweezer19 says:

    I’m so sorry about tensions in your country. Things are not great here any longer either. Domhan is dying slowly….😞

    • Peter Nena says:

      Ah. Our dear Domhan! This place gets fiery once the politicians commence their evil campaigns. The last election in 2017 was violent, and several innocent people were killed, but in spite of that the man who wants to succeed the president in 2020 has continued to campaign relentlessly, spreading hate and fear across the country. It is like hell has arrived early this time.

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