The Judo for Peace and more specifically the Judo for Refugees programme have been running for many years in Zambia and in the Southern African region, showing great results and offering new perspectives for athletes who have suffered in their lives.

With the support of the International Judo Federation, under the leadership of the Zambian Judo Association (ZJA), with assistance from several partners, including the local authorities, the UNHCR and the Norwegian Olympic Committee, equipment and installations were provided, as well as expertise, to guarantee that all participants can benefit from the judo values.

At the end of July, an important step was taken as participants from Meheba and Mayukwayukwa refugee camps took part in a judo tournament. Following the eight year development plan that was prepared back in 2015, which included the Judo for Refugees dimension, 29th July thus saw the participation of 47 athletes from Meheba and 15 from Mayukwayukwa.

The Meheba refugee camp activities were launched in 2016 and it was the first refugee programme in the region, while Mayukwayukwa opened a few years later.

Ng'uni Mabvuto, ZJA Secretary General explained, "All together we had 62 refugees taking part in the event. Meheba refugees came second during the Zambia National Service, with 18 points. This is totally in line with our regional Judo for Peace tripartite programme objectives. It provided opportunities for refugees to participe in national, regional, continental and event international competitions. This is our target in the future."

Soon Ng'uni Mabvuto will be traveling to Malawi and Zimbabwe with Carol, the ZJA Judo for Peace officer, to work with the two countries on their respective refugee programmes, as the President of the federation, Alfred Foloko, will be travelling to Budapest to meet with the IJF and discuss further developments.

For many years Zambia has played a leading role in offering refugees an opportunity to practise judo. Based on the progress made in Zambia, Malawi and Zimbabwe joined the initiative successfully. Together with the IJF Judo for Peace South Africa programme, judo proves that through its activities, people can learn to live together and have a better future.

See also