, alongside some of our fantastic partners like GOAL, to show how sport can give kids a head start in education and growth. Read more below:
Schemes that help those from deprived backgrounds reach their full potential is rewarding, inspiring and great for business.
Chayya Gaikwad grew up in a women's refuge in Mumbai. She now works for an international bank. It wasn't a miracle that got her there. It was netball.
Chhaya, 23, joined the Goal programme as a teenager. Financed by Standard Chartered Bank, Goal gives girls from deprived backgrounds the opportunity to learn a range of different sports with a qualified coach. Running alongside the sessions are lessons in life skills, such as healthy eating, leadership and financial literacy.
"Netball builds health and confidence and team spirit, and teaches us to work with all sorts of different people," says Chhaya, who proceeded through the programme's ranks to become an assistant coach and finally an intern at Standard Chartered.
Sport is now widely accepted as a powerful vehicle in the delivery of development goals, be they public health, education or social inclusion. Lecture kids in a classroom and a fraction of the information sticks. Introduce a ball into the equation and you suddenly have yourself a large and attentive audience.
That's Right to Play's experience, at least. The Toronto-based development charity provides a network of 12,000 local coaches in 20 countries. Their sports-based activities are all geared to address specific local issues, ranging from gender equality in the Middle East to basic literacy in Peru.
Will Morgan, senior fundraising manager at the charity, explains: "At the end of every activity, there's a discussion facilitated by the coach in which the children are taught to reflect on what they've just done, connect it to their everyday life and apply it in the future. That's how you get long-term behaviour change."
The facts bear that out. A study of Right to Play's sport interventions among refugee communities in Uganda found that 84% of participants now sleep under a mosquito net. The national average is closer to 10%. Attitudes can shift too. More than 90% of Right to Play's young participants in Uganda believe children with HIV or AIDS should be allowed to attend school. Only 54% of non-participants agree.
So how does business fit into the mix? First, there's the issue of incentive to consider. Corporate reputation, employee engagement and health, and license to operate are just some of the notable wins for companies.
"On top of that, sport can add to the efficiency, reach or impact of any kind of corporate community initiative", says Joe Phelan, a spokesperson for the International Business Leaders Forum (IBLF), which has published two reports on the business case for sport for development.
Recruitment represents another big pull. "From the bank's perspective, the benefit [of Goal] is in creating a talent pool," says Chris James, head of talent acquisition at Standard Chartered, South Asia. He's not wrong. Chhaya is just one of 18,865 girls involved in the Goal programme throughout India, Nigeria, China, Jordan and Zambia. The bank aims to reach 80,000 more.
Having empowered and informed women in the markets where it operates is not lost on Standard Chartered. The programme's financial literacy component "makes perfect sense" to a bank, says the firm's head of sustainability, Mark Devadason. No surprise then that the Goal webpage offers a click-through tab to the bank's advisory services for women in business.
David Wheldon is equally frank about the potential business upside. Managing director for brand, marketing and citizenship at UK bank Barclays, he points to young people's appropriation of "highly employable skills" through sport, such as teamwork, leadership, problem solving and communication. "[These are] precisely the skills that an employer such as Barclays looks for in potential employees," he states.
It's not a one-way street, however. Development charities can gain from business input too. Corporate cash is one welcome asset. But development NGOs can benefit from companies' professionalism and technical expertise as well, says Pippa Satchwell Smith, a Zimbabwe-based sport-for-development expert.
Tapping into businesses' global networks can be invaluable too, she adds. Take sporting superstars. As sponsor of the Premier League, for example, Barclays has access to some of the best-known sporting faces on the planet. The same is true for the likes of Nike, Adidas and the world's other major sports sponsors.
The Laureus Sport for Good Foundation foundation is putting such celebrity to good effect. The charity has an academy that comprises 46 of the world's greatest sporting legends.
Think Viv Richards, Michael Johnson, Martina Navratilova. Laureus arranges visits for them to its 104 projects around the world. So last year, for example, tennis star Boris Becker popped into a football school in Haiti. Next week, athlete Edwin Moses is in Brazil to visit a youth boxing project in the favelas of Rio.
These are sporting icons that children immediately know, says Ned Wills, the foundation's director. "They [sports stars] can not only inspire the kids on the ground, but they can also highlight the huge impact that sport is having … and promote the value of these programmes to new audiences."
Nick Keller is a passionate advocate for involving companies in development through sport. Yet as founder of Beyond Sport, a global charity that promotes sport as a vehicle for social change, he's sceptical of corporate philanthropy. "A very positive approach is when the actual expertise of the business is actually helpful to the NGO … and also something that fits into a business's objective, because then it's not so whimsical", he states.
Don't go it alone. That's Keller's top-line message to companies. So he praises Standard Chartered, which won this year's Corporate Award at the Beyond Sport Awards, for its tie-up with global netball association IFNA. Barclays' network of well-managed, grassroots partnerships in its Spaces for Sport programme is likewise commended.
"Good partnerships come in different shapes and sizes," Keller states. "But what you don't want is a corporation trying to deliver on the ground. You want it to be working with a community partner that really understands its stuff."
These kind of deeply rooted partnerships are particularly important when it comes to securing long-term developmental benefits from large-scale sporting events. This so-called "social legacy" is top-of-mind now the Olympics have passed. Tasked with taking forward the London 2012 vision to connect young people "to the inspirational power of the Games" is the government agency UK Sport. Its vehicle for doing so is the aptly named International Inspiration programme.
Rolled out in association with children's charity UNICEF and the British Council, the seven-year International Inspiration is running structured sports training programmes in 20 developing countries.
Transforming "a moment of inspiration" such as the 2012 Games into "real opportunity and lifelong participation" won't just happen, insists Debbie Lye, director of international development at UK Sport. Keeping up the momentum requires "meaningful investment" in local sports facilities, community coaches and targeted taster courses, coupled with inclusive sport in every school.
Businesses are well set up to help, says Lye, although persuading corporations to factor sport into their corporate responsibility and marketing budgets remains a struggle. "Many will understandably put millions into elite sport and to commercial sport … but don't see the value in committing a fraction of that to mass participation sport development for young people."
Oliver Balch is author of India Rising: Tales from a Changing Nation, published by Faber
Guardian Sustainable Business will be running a live discussion on the opportunities for partnerships between sporting and development organisations on Thursday 27 September, 2 - 4pm (BST).