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Call for articles: Sport for development and peace in the global north and south


Call for articles: Sport for development and peace in the global north and south calls on the community to explore the relationship between the global north and south, and how policy and practice in the sector are shaped through this relationship.

“The most forceful criticism of sport and development (and development more broadly) is that it exacerbates unequal power relations. According to this view, programmes originate in the more prosperous global north and are implemented in the global south without paying heed to local need.”

This point was raised by David Tannenwald in a piece for the Harvard Kennedy School Review. As David highlights, academics argue that the sport for development and peace (SDP) sector can be susceptible to western stakeholders involved in the funding and implementation of SDP projects delivering a “we know what’s best” grassroots SDP strategy, without including and empowering communities in the process of their own development.

We are therefore launching a call for articles exploring the relationship between the global north and south applied to the development and delivery of SDP programmes. We welcome articles on this topic from grassroots practitioners from both the global north and south, as well as those involved in SDP policy and research.

To get you started, below are two short discussions exploring key topics relevant to this relationship.

Does the language you communicate with effect global SDP policy?
It turns out that for the purpose of influencing people and communicating your message to the world, the language you communicate with is very important. Recent research mapped how information flows around the globe, identifying “the best languages to spread your ideas far and wide”. Unsurprisingly, European languages dominate, with information written in English being the most influential and accessible language if you want your message to reach the largest global audience.

How does this then affect the development of SDP and sport policy more generally? For example, will the publication of the UN’s latest resolution on SDP (which some may argue endorses the historically exclusively male and European led Olympic movement as the face of the SDP community’s efforts post2015) exclude other voices and sports from around the world that are not represented in the Olympic Movement?

“Anyone with a plane ticket and a ball…can become a sport and development organisation.”
There are number of examples, where successful global south SDP organisations were founded by individuals from the global north. Prominent examples include Magic Bus in India, founded by Matthew Spacie, a British private sector worker; and MYSA, an organisation based in Mathare and founded by Bob Munro, a Canadian advisor for the UN. Interestingly, both of these highly successful organisations have moved towards a more representative and inclusive leadership model which - in the case of MYSA - is made up of the youth from within the organisation. A key question could therefore be – Who really knows what's best when it comes to SDP leadership in local contexts?

Submit an article
If you would like to write on this topic, please contact with your idea and we will discuss next steps. We request that articles are submitted by 18:00 (CET) 2 December 2015. Articles should not exceed 400 words and should be written with sportanddev’s How to Write for News and Views guide in mind.


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Mark James Johnson


Saturday, November 7, 2015 - 23:00