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The future of sport and development: Investing in grassroots sport and sport for development

A girl practising basketball
Copyrights: GIZ/Ramon Gonçalves (UNOSDP Flickr)

The future of sport and development: Investing in grassroots sport and sport for development

We have identified ten themes that authors emphasised in our recent call for articles on the future of sport and development.

The pandemic provides a unique opportunity to re-evaluate the community sport sector as a whole, review support and investment models, and innovate to open up sport participation and its associated benefits to a much broader section of the community.

Ruth Jeanes and co., Monash University, Edith Cowan University, Victoria University and University of Amsterdam

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.

Investing in grassroots sport and sport for development

Writers repeatedly emphasised the need for sport to go ‘back to its roots.’ This includes investing more funding in grassroots sport and sport for development initiatives that provide access and opportunities for all. When doing so, it is important to pay special attention to marginalised groups such as women and girls, people with disabilities, migrants and refugees, and gender non-conforming individuals.

Authors highlighted the need to invest in building the capacity of sport for development organisations and local sport actors, including community coaches. Articles also emphasised the need to develop the skills and competencies of youth. Contributors called for greater recognition of informal sport’s potential to promote inclusion and to build stronger, thriving communities.

One article also highlighted the role of indigenous games in contributing to the COVID-19 recovery. These are traditional recreational activities that originate in a particular cultural group or community. They exist in many countries – including India – but are often marginalised.

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

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Wednesday, June 24, 2020 - 16:17