Right To Play is the leading international humanitarian and development organization using the transformative power of sport and play to build essential skills in children and thereby drive social change in communities affected by war, poverty and disease. Right To Play creates a safe place for children to learn and fosters the hope that is essential for children to envision and realize a better future. The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child guides our work. Right To Play programs target the most marginalized individuals including girls, persons with disabilities, children affected by HIV and AIDS, street children, former child combatants and refugees.
Right To Play has been a pioneer in innovation for social change and has a track record for creating programs that are both sustainable and replicable.
What We Do: Working in both the humanitarian and development context, Right To Play trains local community leaders as Coaches to deliver our programs in more than 20 countries affected by war, poverty and disease in Africa, Asia, the Middle East, and South America. Our programs incorporate a unique methodology that uses sport and play as tools for learning in four development impact areas:
- Basic Education and Child Development: Right To Play’s sport and play programs foster the physical, cognitive and social development of children to teach important values and life skills.
- Health Promotion and Disease Prevention: Right To Play’s sport and play programs are used to educate and mobilize communities around national health and disease prevention priorities, including HIV and AIDS, malaria and immunization.
- Conflict Resolution and Peace Building: Our programs are tools for teaching conflict resolution and peace building skills. Participation in regular activities facilitates the healing of communities and reintegration of children affected by war.
- Community Development and Participation: In order to create change and have a sustainable impact, we work in partnership with local organizations to build community infrastructure through the engagement of local staff and local and international volunteers.
Our Reach: Almost 700,000 children were reached in regular weekly activity in all Right To Play programs by the end of 2010. In addition, almost 450,000 children participated in festivals, summer camps and other activity that is less than twice per week.
These activities were facilitated by nearly 13,000 local coaches, leaders and teachers and more than 5,500 junior leaders.
Participation of girls and women in our programs remained high throughout 2010. Almost 50 per cent of children participating were girls and more than 50 per cent of coaches, leaders and teachers were female.
Our Guiding Principles: Right To Play programs are guided by the principles of inclusion and sustainability.
Inclusion promotes the involvement of children and youth who may be marginalized for reasons of race, gender, disability, ethnicity, social background or religion. We believe that through well-designed games and sports, attitudes contributing toward a child’s exclusion from meaningful participation in society will change.
Sustainability ensures our programs have a lasting impact and centres on building the capacity of individuals, communities and partner organizations to independently deliver, on an ongoing basis, learning objectives through regular sport and play activities.
A Global Leader in Sport for Development and Peace: Right To Play is committed to every child’s right to play and takes an active role to facilitate research and promote advocacy in this area. Our aim is to engage and positively influence key decision-makers from the development, sport, business, media and government sectors to ensure every child benefits from the positive power of sport and play.
Right To Play served as Secretariat to the Sport for Development and Peace International Working Group (SDP IWG) from 2004-2008 – a high-level policy initiative mobilizing 59 national governments and key stakeholders from UN agencies and civil society.
As Secretariat to the SDP IWG, Right To Play developed and launched policy recommendations for national governments on how to incorporate sport as a tool for development and peace into their national and international policies and programs. The recommendations were endorsed by 38 governments at the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympic Games, and on December 11th 2008, the recommendations were formally recognized by the United Nations in a resolution passed by the General Assembly.
An International Team of Athlete Ambassadors: Right To Play is supported by an international team of top athletes from more than 40 countries. As role models these athletes inspire children, raise awareness and promote opportunities for funding for Right To Play projects.
Our Athlete Ambassadors include Chelsea Football Club (UK), Team Columbia, Haile Gebrselassie (Ethiopia), Jose Calderon (Spain), Constantina Dita (Romania), Anja Pärson (Sweden), Alexander Ovechkin (Russia), and Steve Young (USA), among many others.
Where We Work: Currently Right To Play programs are implemented in: Benin, Botswana, Burundi, China, Ethiopia, Ghana, Jordan, Kenya, Lebanon, Liberia, Mali, Mozambique, Pakistan, Palestinian Territories (West Bank and Gaza), Peru, Rwanda, South Sudan, Tanzania, Thailand and Uganda.
Right To Play is headquartered in Toronto, Canada, and has national offices in Canada, The Netherlands, Norway, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States. The national offices raise funds, build awareness for Right To Play programs and advocate for Sport for Development.
From Sport to Social Innovation: Founded in 2000 by Johann Olav Koss, four-time Olympic gold medalist and social entrepreneur, Right To Play stimulates and motivates local communities to engage in entrepreneurship, innovation and sustainable development practices.