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The future of sport and development: Building a more equitable and inclusive sector

Girls in Nepal playing wheelchair basketball
Copyrights: Simone Galimberti (Photo)

The future of sport and development: Building a more equitable and inclusive sector

We have identified ten themes that authors emphasised in our recent call for articles on the future of sport and development. We are sharing one per day, starting from 24 June.

To emerge stronger from this crisis, it is necessary to acknowledge and address the inherent inequalities in sports that discriminate on the basis of body, gender, sexuality, age, ability, caste, race, tribe, location class and religion.

Madhumita Das and Sanjana Gaind, activists, rights advocates and consultants.

As the coronavirus pandemic has profoundly affected sport, including professional leagues and competitions, many have begun to question the role of sport in society. Should we be seeking to go back to business as usual? or is it time for sport to change? What needs to be done?

sportanddev recently published a call for articles on the future of sport and development, receiving a record 55 responses from writers across the world and from a range of backgrounds and sectors. We have analysed the published articles and identified 10 key and interlinked themes. The theme for this article is the need to build a more equitable and inclusive sport for development and sport sector.

sportanddev also hosted a webinar on the future of sport and development on 23 June, International Olympic Day with over 300 attendees! Click here to watch the recording.

Building a more equitable and inclusive sport for development and sport sector

One article pointed out that sport and the coronavirus have one thing in common: they are both sometimes described as a ‘great leveller.’ Some say that coronavirus affects us all equally, regardless of rank, religion, race, financial status and other characteristics, and people argue those things also don’t matter on the sports field. But this is not the case. The poor and marginalised are most at risk during the COVID-19 crisis, and they are also most likely to be left behind in sport.

Authors emphasised the need to challenge the current inequities within the sport for development and sport sectors. The crisis means resources are constrained, and they will be for some time. We need to ensure this doesn’t lead to previous gains (e.g. in relation to women’s sport) being reversed.

Women Win published an article where they outlined six actions to make sport for development both relevant globally and more equitable, inclusive and responsive to local needs:

  • Hold the line – focus on the most vulnerable to ensure social gains made are not reversed
  • Act local, feed the global – ensure sports programmes meet the needs of communities while creating virtual networks for the global sharing of resources and knowledge
  • Leapfrog – leverage technology to our advantage
  • Create unusual alliances and plan for multiple new realities
  • Prepare for the predictable – focus on economic resilience and trauma
  • Advocate, advocate, advocate for a healthy sport for development ecosystem

What are the other topics writers emphasised? Find out more.

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Wednesday, June 24, 2020 - 14:44