Go to main content

A letter from a youth leader involved in social cohesion

Posted on 02 Jun 2024

In a bid to foster unity and promote peace within his community, Mohammed takes to the football pitch. Alongside community members from various districts and diverse ethnic-religious backgrounds, Mohammed participates in a month-long football tournament.

This initiative serves as a platform for individuals to come together in a fun and positive environment, helping to breakdown barriers and resolve conflicts peacefully.

It is just one of many youth-led initiatives being implemented by Mercy Land Organisation with the support of DRC and funded by Global Affairs Canada in Diyala, an area known for its diverse ethnic demographic and complex security setting.

In his own words, Mohammed tells of the impact his time on the football field has had and his hopes for a more peaceful future.

Dear all,   

My name is Mohammed from Diyala Governorate - Muqdadyia District, and I am 24 years old. I participated in the social cohesion activity - Strengthening community bond and promote peacebuilding - which was conducted by Mercy Land Organisation in partnership with the Danish refugee council. This initiative is about the role of youth in building peace and bringing people together in the Muqdadyia District.

I want to say that these initiatives contribute to enhancing familiarity, love, tolerance, acceptance of other people, and interconnectedness between communities. These sessions also allow all people to join hands to strengthen peace through sharing different views, increasing awareness, strengthening freedom of opinion, enhancing a person’s self-confidence, and empowering his or her abilities.

All areas of the district have been affected by conflicts, at different periods and at different levels. It requires a long time, actions, and effort from everyone to get rid of the effects of conflicts and their remnants. For this reason, we need many peace initiatives by Mercy land and DRC so that we can strengthen the peace-building process in our beloved district.

We, the youth of the future, must show the positive energy and capabilities hidden within us to serve our regions, cultivate love, and participate in promoting peace throughout the spectrum of society. Do not say, I cannot change, but rather, I can. Because you are the future, and the future is you.


Decades of ethno-sectarian strife have left scars in Diyala, exacerbated by the fragmentation of local control and increased numbers of armed actors following the defeat of ISIS - a group who remains active in Diyala, sowing fear and instability through targeted attacks and killings.

The situation is compounded by historic tensions between the region's diverse population, comprising Arabs, Kurds, Turkmen, and various religious groups, including Sunni and Shia Muslims, as well as minority communities like Christians, Yezidis, Ahl Al-Haqq, and Failli Kurds.

The region's diverse ethnic and sectarian makeup, coupled with a history of conflict and tension, underlines the need for communities to come together.

Social cohesion not only promotes trust and understanding among different groups but also fosters a sense of belonging and mutual support. By bridging divides and promoting inclusivity, social cohesion lays the groundwork for cooperation, dialogue, and reconciliation, essential for addressing underlying grievances and building a shared vision for the future.

By harnessing the power of sports, these initiatives strive to create more peaceful and inclusive communities.

04 Jun 2024
DRC reached millions of people with crucial support in 2023
31 May 2024
Ukraine: Empowering food security — DRC’s initiative in Ukra…
Read more about Iraq Peace