You are here

Sport, a motor for development and social inclusion


Sport, a motor for development and social inclusion

Sport and Cooperation Network’s conference in Madrid on 11-12 April encouraged dialogue about issues of social inclusion and the power of sport in a development context.

The two-day conference held in association with the Community of Madrid, INEF and the Technical University of Madrid (UPM) was a chance for specialists in the field of social inclusion and development to discuss ideas and debate current issues.

Racism and intolerance
Three specialists, Esteban Ibarra (President of the Movement Against Intolerance), Javier Durán (President of the Observatorium on Violence, Racism, Xenophobia and Intolerance in Sport) and the journalist Salvador Rodríguez Moya discussed current issues associated with racism in sport. The panel suggested that the problem is a lot deeper than publicly thought and Ibarra stated that what we see is only “the tip of the iceberg”.

Funding issues were raised as a particular concern in the fight against racism and intolerance, resulting in a lack of institutions and go-to organisations. However, it was raised that football is a lucrative business and that the real problem is more a lack of will.

Corporate Social Responsibility in sport
The current financial crisis has put greater importance on attaining funding through a variety of sources. Michael Hopkins conducted an interactive workshop discussing how NGOs can approach companies for funding and the potential mutual benefits associated with corporate – NGO partnerships.

Case studies: Ethiopia and Cameroon
This was an opportunity to exchange experiences, challenges and success-stories in terms of cooperation for development through sports.

Jesús Ángel Gabaldón, expert in sports and cooperation, presented the activities he carried out in Ethiopia, which involved training of young Ethiopian sports animators in order to encourage youth peer leadership through sport.

Furthermore, Maira Cabrini, from the Sport Network communication department, summarised the NGO’s project in Cameroon: “Improving lives of Central African refugees in Cameroon through sports”.

Both speakers emphasised on the difficulty of involving girls and women in the activities, due to strong traditional gender differences in the countries, but also on the tangible results of such projects.

Furthermore, Maria Martin Laguna spoke of her experience working with Sport Network in refugee camps in Western Sahara, from which she wrote and published the Manual of Physical Education for Local Leaders in Saharawi Refugee Camps.

Health – Now We Move: Laura Blanco, representing International Sport and Culture Association (ISCA) highlighted the dangers of inactivity and discussed the 2013 MOVE WEEK campaign, which forms part of ISCA’s European vision to get 100 million more Europeans active by 2020.

[This article has been edited by the Operating Team]


Article type



Tom Vahid


Monday, April 15, 2013 - 23:00