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UNICEF UK sport: Uniting organisations to deliver quality partnership work


UNICEF UK sport: Uniting organisations to deliver quality partnership work

Liz Twyford, sports programmes specialist at UNICEF UK, writes a guest blog for International Inspiration (IN) on what working together, a theme common across the international development sector, really means and how the UNICEF coordinated initiative to safeguard children in sport has supported quality partnership work.

The blog follows the 'Sport for Development: A Catalyst for Change’ conference, held at Wilton Park in June this year. One of the key themes that we kept returning to at the Sport for Development: a Catalyst for Change conference at Wilton Park, was working together.

Questions around this included:

  • Are we a defined sector and in what ways can we work together more closely?
  • How can the sport and development (S&D) movement work more effectively with the wider world of sport?
  • How can S&D organisations form alliances with non-sport organisations working with the same target group, or to address the same issue?
  • How can corporates and S&D organisations work together on a common cause?
  • And for all these movements, alliances, partnerships and working groups, how can we be effective and really make a difference for the groups we serve through our work?

For the last 3 years, I have had the great pleasure of working with more than 40 organisations globally in a unique coalition. Together we form the International Safeguarding Children in Sport Working Group – a team of committed, enthusiastic and open professionals from the worlds of sport, S&D, government, international development and child protection, united by a simple cause – to make sport safer for children.

This work was inspired by a group of girls from South Africa. During a meeting to discuss the role of sport in supporting girls’ education, these participants talked to us instead about the dangers they faced even taking part in sport in the first place. From male players who bullied them and wouldn’t let them have access to the pitch, to issues in travelling to and from the project site, to negative community attitudes towards their involvement, the challenges were many. It quickly became clear that if these girls weren’t safe, none of the other development outcomes around empowerment and education would ever be fully achieved.

Motivated by their stories, the Working Group was formed to explore how we could support organisations to put measures in place to make their sporting activities safer for the children taking part.

This the first part of a longer blog entry

[This article has been edited by the Operating Team]


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Liz Twyford


Monday, August 3, 2015 - 23:00