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More than Sport Alliance 2019 Spring Play

Author: Marcel Straub

More than Sport Alliance 2019 Spring Play

The alliance of Swiss-based sport and development organisations holds a Spring Play to exchange on concepts and practices used in their work

The More than Sport Alliance is a group of Swiss-based sport and play organisations working together to raise awareness and advocate for the use of sport for development around the world. The group was established in 2016 and meet regularly to network, share experiences and learn from each other. The Alliance’s members represent the full range of the sport, development and peace continuum ranging from those coming from a sport background to those from the world of development.  

Their May meeting, organised by the Swiss Academy for Development and Right to Play Switzerland, was the first in a series that brings together organisations to share methodologies for applying sport- or play-based interventions in field projects.

The morning was spent briefly discussing concepts, followed by lively learning through experience sessions. 

  • Street Racket introduced their versatile, newly invented racket sport that can be played anywhere and by anyone. This new sport focuses on public health and education objectives, and has already been taken up by actors in multiple countries.
  • The Scort Foundation introduced the group to their football-based methodology that strives to foster life and soft skills as well as leadership qualities. During so-called educational games, various social topics can be addressed while – at the same time – improving one’s technical football skills.
  • Right to Play demonstrated activities based on the experiential learning cycle mainly used in their projects to pursue development objectives. The latter approach is also practiced by the Swiss Academy for Development. 

While the specific aims of participating organisations differ, the overall methodologies each apply show great similarities. Many of the challenges faced at the field-level are also similar, including cultural barriers towards using sport and play, the quality of facilitators, and generally a skepticism vis-à-vis the approach if one cannot build on previous experiences.

Another important learning input was the need to really anchor the approach in sound programmatic principles and objectives. The latter obviously differs greatly depending on whether the sport or the development aspect is put into the foreground.  

The More than Sport Alliance attaches great importance to this peer-learning character of the group and invites other Swiss-based organisations active in this field to join the alliance. The meetings are an opportunity to share, learn from others and strengthen the sport and development sector. The next meeting in this series will take place in autumn, and we welcome organisations to join in on the fun. You can contact the alliance via sportanddev.org or by emailing probst@sad.ch