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e-Debate: Kylie Bates comments in Round 2

e-Debate: Kylie Bates comments in Round 2

Kylie Bates cites three main challenges to maintaining a balance between sport and other components in S&D interventions. Read her comments below...

Delivering a balanced or holistic approach in S&D programmes is often advised, but difficult to implement. In your opinion, what are three main challenges we face in trying to maintain a balance between sport and other components?

Creating a partnership based on trust, mutual benefits and transparency

An arrangement where the funder’s main responsibility is to hand over money and review reports creates an unequal power balance which can result in impractical designs, selective reporting and missed opportunities. Although sometimes more difficult to get started, an approach that is based on trust, organisations sharing responsibility and making decisions together can lead to a stronger long term impact.

Building on what works

While many communities may not have experienced a regular, participation-based sports program or have sports infrastructure they will have a way of making decisions and getting things done. In creating change, the easiest place to start is where the energy and activity already exists. For example, if rural villages in Vanuatu already have a way of running festivals for special days during the year then it makes more sense to develop an inter village sports program that is based on regular festivals rather than a weekly league.

Making it a quality sport experience

If the sport experience is not valued by the target audience then it is unlikely to have power to create social change. A quality sport experience usually means that the sport activities need to fun, exciting, inclusive, well organised and challenging. It can also mean that the type of activities need to be valued by the participant. For example, some participants may be more drawn to activities that are higher risk and individualistic such as surfing or BMX riding while others may value belonging to a team or group.

Can you describe a bad example of trying to embed sport in other interventions aimed at addressing health issues?

The mantra of “first do no harm” should be observed in the design of all programs.

For example, if large groups of people are travelling for days by foot to an event or festival then the safety of the women and children and possibility of the spread of disease needs to be considered.

While training young females as sports leaders in the community might tick a lot of inclusion boxes for a development agency, thought needs to be given to how their new job will be perceived by their husbands and families.

When you throw a rock into a river there is a ripple effect. Sport needs to be aware of the impact, good and bad, it may have.

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Kylie Bates


Sunday, November 8, 2009 - 23:00