Sport for Development 

 

Sport for Development and Peace refers to the intentional use of sport, physical activity and play to attain specific development and peace objectives, including, most notably, the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

Successful Sport for Development and Peace programmes work to realize the rights of all members of society to participate in sport and leisure activities. Effective programmes intentionally give priority to development objectives and are carefully designed to be inclusive. These programmes embody the best values of sport while upholding the quality and integrity of the sport experience.

Strong Sport for Development and Peace programmes combine sport and play with other non-sport components to enhance their effectiveness. They are delivered in an integrated manner with other local, regional and national development and peace initiatives so that they are mutually reinforcing. Programmes seek to empower participants and communities by engaging them in the design and delivery of activities, building local capacity, adhering to generally accepted principles of transparency and accountability, and pursuing sustainability through collaboration, partnerships and co-ordinated action.

Sport alone, however, cannot ensure peace or solve complex social problems. Instead, sport should be positioned as a highly effective tool in a broader toolkit of development practices, and should be applied in a holistic and integrated manner with other interventions and programmes to achieve optimal results.

 

Contribution of Sport to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)

Sport represents a significant source of potential for enhancing and even accelerating development and peace efforts worldwide, particularly those related to attaining the MDGs. Sport’s attributes make it a valuable component of broader, holistic approaches in reaching the eight MDG benchmarks with targets aimed at: (1) Eradicating extreme poverty and hunger, (2) Achieving universal primary education, (3) Promoting gender equality and empowering women, (4) Reducing child mortality, (5) Improving maternal health, (6) Combating HIV and AIDS, malaria, and other diseases, (7) Ensuring environmental sustainability and (8) Developing a global partnership for development.

» Table on our Contribution of Sport to the Millennium Development Goals, click here

 

Sport’s Unique Value as a Tool for Development and Peace

The concept of Sport for Development and Peace is rooted in the recognition that sport possesses unique attributes that enable it to contribute to development and peace processes. These attributes include:

  • Universal popularity – transcending of national, cultural, socio-economic and political boundaries, when done right, sport is enjoyable for participants and spectators alike and can be invoked in virtually any community in the world.
  • Capacity as a powerful global communications platform – Because sport events offer the capacity to reach vast numbers of people, they are effective platforms for public education & social mobilization.
  • Ability to connect – sport is an inherently social process bringing together players, teams, coaches, volunteers & spectators.
  • Cross-cutting nature – sport can be used to address a broad range of social and economic challenges.
  • Potential to empower, motivate and inspire – sport has the natural ability to draw on, develop, and showcase individual strengths and capacities.

 

Development and Peace Benefits Achievable Through Sport

1) Promoting health and preventing disease

  • Prevents and manages chronic disease
  • Prevents and manages infectious disease
  • Enhances mental health
  • Reduces direct and indirect health care costs
4) Strengthening development & education
  • Enhances physical health and development
  • Fosters psychosocial health and development
  • Builds life skills and positive values
  • Helps children and youth recover from trauma
  • Strengthens education
2) Enhancing the inclusion and well-being of person with disabilities
  • Reduces stigma
  • Enhances socialization
  • Enables independence and participation
  • Contributes to empowerment
  • Fosters greater inclusion
5) Promoting gender equality and empowering girls & women
  • Enhances girls’ and women’s health and well-being
  • Fosters self-esteem and empowerment
  • Facilitates social inclusion and integration
  • Challenges gender norms
  • Provides opportunities for leadership and achievement
 3) Enhancing social inclusion, preventing conflict, and building peace
  • Promotes social inclusion
  • Provides respite in periods of conflict
  • Builds trust and establishes bridges between groups in conflict
  • Builds peace in a post-conflict situation
  • Promotes a culture of peace