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Round one: An additional space for citizen engagement

Round one: An additional space for citizen engagement

Lombe Mwambwa argues sport has popularised the MDGs and communicated them to otherwise isolated groups.

How has the S&D community contributed to the MDGs?

The S&D community has actively played a role in popularising the MDGs at various levels, across age groups and economic groups. Through sport, MDGs have been communicated to parts of our society that would essentially be left out of the conversation.

The community has further, facilitated a framework and additional space for citizen engagement with the MDGs and in a way also promoting their prioritisation and avenues for advocacy and service delivery in many settings.

At a practical level, the sport and development community has developed and equipped itself with methodologies and approaches that are beneficial to other sectors including governments and this is critical to sustainable change.

How far have we come as a sector?

We have developed as a sector, as can be seen by the expansion in the diversity of the issues we are engaging with from HIV/AIDS to race, access to justice and gender based violence. We are also moving forward with equipping ourselves to deliver quality services to our stakeholders. The sector is progressively positioning itself within the development, academic, research and political arenas and gaining the recognition and credibility needed to function within various sectors.

Is sport a well-suited tool to trigger change?

This is a question we will keep asking ourselves as the issues we are dealing with keep evolving, so our concern is to make sure sport is dynamic and innovative. The elements of sport that drive us to push the boundaries and strive for excellence are an asset that we have and can use to trigger change.

Sport is well-suited but it has to deal with its own internal environment and issues that slow down our actions for change. As sport, we have the challenge of "being the change we want to see". This is both a challenge and an opportunity and we have what it takes to make this work.

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[This article has been edited by the Operating Team]

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