• How We Make an Impact through Sport and Play

    ​By Martin Llamas 

    On April 6, we celebrated the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace. As a pioneer and one of the many leaders of the Sport for Development and Peace movement, we are proud of the contribution play can make to each one of the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). See how we are creating a positive impact and contributing to the achievement of these goals:​

    SDG #1​​​: End Poverty in all its forms

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    Aboriginal peoples are a growing percentage of Canada's population, but the poverty rate for children and youth in this community is unprecedented.

    Right To Play's Promoting Life-skills in Aboriginal Youth (PLAY) program works in partnership with First Nations communities to address this complex issue in a holistic way. Through sport and play-based programs, children and youth to develop the self-confidence, self-efficacy and leadership skills they need to pursue their education and seek and sustain meaningful employment throughout their lives.

    82% of PLAY partner communities report increased hope for a positive future among children and youth. 

    ​SDG #3: Good Health & Well-being

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    Through educational play-based programs, children are learning how to protect themselves against diseases. The "handwashing game," for example, uses play to teach a simple and practical life-skill that truly saves lives: wash your hands.

    It seems simple, but poor hygiene is a serious threat. Among other things, it can lead to illnesses like diarrhea, which kills 2,195 children every day.*

    Not only does this lesson easily translate to daily life, participants also learn to share their knowledge with their friends and broader community.


    SDG #4: Quality Education

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    Children learn best through play. Integrating play into the classroom not only creates a fun and positive learning environment, it's also a tool that helps teachers engage students and deliver lessons more effectively. As a result, children become more attentive and energetic in the classroom and are motivated to attend school. ​

    “I was astonished by how play activities motivated the entire class to participate, learn and share in the experience,” says Ayed Jaa’ysa, Teacher, Palestinian Territories (West Bank & Gaza​).

    SDG #5: Gender Equality 

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    We are dedicated to ensuring that 50% of participants in our global programs are female.

    In some countries, that number is even higher; for example, of the more than 180,000 children participating in Right To Play programs in Pakistan, 56% are girls.    

    Why is girls' participation so important to us? Because through play, we can educate girls about their rights, help them develop the confidence to realize their leadership potential and intr​​oduce sensitive conversations that will help them safeguard their health. Most importantly, play helps to remove the barriers that are keeping them out of school.

    ​​Female involvement in sport and play can also impact gender norms and re-shape community conversations about a woman’s role in society. In that way, play is helping boys, parents and the community see girls in a new light and that is leading to real, sustainable impact in gender equality.​

    SDG #16: Peace & Justice 


    More than 230 million of the world's children live in countries and areas affected by armed conflicts.*

    While sport and play cannot end wars, they are extremely powerful tools for developing cooperation and teamwork in children. Through play, we can bring a sense of normalcy to the lives of children affected by conflict, all the while using educational games to teach them the empathy, mutual respect and conflict resolution skills that foster hope for a more peaceful future. 

    * https://www.unicefusa.org/press/releases/unicef-more-1-10-children-living-countries-and-areas-affected-armed-conflict/21551