Copyrights: Smash the Iron Cage (Wikimedia Commons)

What happened to the special adviser?

The appointment of a new head for the UN Office on Sport for Development and Peace (UNOSDP) would help raise the profile of the sector.

In 2015, the sport and development sector celebrated a big success resulting from the joint advocacy and lobbying efforts of S&D professionals: sport is officially mentioned as a tool for development in Agenda 2030, legitimising the efforts of more than 800 organisations worldwide and raising their profile. It was a lengthy and intensive process getting voices from the sector to speak at the right time, with the right voice: IOC President Thomas Bach was given the stage at the UN-GASS on 25-27 September 2015 in New York and former UN General-Secretary Ban Ki-moon fully backed the idea of strengthening the UN’s links with the world of sport to create social benefits for youth worldwide.

This was a step in the right direction – political acknowledgement and validation of the work the sport and development sector has done on a global scale for the past 15 years. It raised the profile of small and medium sized organisations that use sport for development and provides backing for the few remaining governmental funding streams that support sport and development programmes through their foreign aid, health or sport promotion grants.

But what has happened since this significant moment in late September 2015? Governments turn to military spending and cut their foreign aid, doing so without much justification but using the argument “my own nation first”. Countries retreat into protectionism and nationalism. The idea of using the massively popular tool of movement and play, sport and joyful competition, for development and peace seems almost abstract again, needs explanation and again triggers ideological debate. Ideas like Olympism, interethnic understanding, and gender and diversity advanced through sport seem to have been silenced, almost back to the starting point.

In the fight for dwindling funds and the deconstructed reputation of international aid, little visibility remains for the sport and development sector. The prolonged lack of a spokesperson for the sector working from within the international development system seems to manifest this lack of voice for this young but still growing sector.

Even if most of us agree that the UN and all other fora of international negotiation, such as the EU, the Commonwealth, the development banks, etc. could and should be reformed, the S&D sector should join forces to make our voices heard. The best and most effective way seems to be to finally re-staff the seat of the special adviser for sport, development and peace with a young, energetic and insightful person who is up to the challenge of claiming the well-deserved space for sport as a tool for development. After months of vacancy, it is high time that governments back the mandate and that a new resourceful, cosmopolitan and energetic person claims the seat which – well-staffed – can tip the scale towards more visibility, more funding and thus also more impact for social development through sport.

The new special adviser herself should not only rely on her political background knowledge of how the UN system works, but should also make sure that the sport and development sector is fully represented and can – through staff at the UNOSDP – pass the appropriate message which has become more profound than the simple pledge for sport as a tool for development. There is evidence that well-planned sport interventions foster understanding, that they can be efficient and effective. In other words, the special adviser and her team should make visible that S&D has a right to exist, that the sector delivers the necessary practical work on the ground, and that sport-based interventions contribute to social development, peaceful co-existence and better interethnic understanding.

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Published

04/25/2017 - 12:59

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Enhancing the Contribution of Sport to the Sustainable Development Goals

Publication type

Manuals and Tools

Publisher

Commonwealth Secretariat

Year

2017

The report, published by the Commonwealth Secretariat, offers insight and recommendations toward using sport as a tool to achieve Sustainable Development Goals.

"Enhancing the Contribution of Sport to the Sustainable Development Goals" is presented as a guidebook that addresses several topics including:

  • Sport and sustainable development
  • Ensuring equal opportunities
  • Achieving gender equality
  • Ensuring health for all
  • Promoting sustainable growth
  • Making cities safe, resilient and sustainable
  • Promoting peace and inclusivity

The report also details the processes of implementing Sustainable Development Goals including data analysis, monitoring and accountability. The researchers present information as well as recommendations making the guide a useful tool for governmental policy-makers and other stakeholders.

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Author

Commonwealth Secretariat

Published

04/12/2017 - 16:43

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PeacePlayers International – South Africa Program Evaluation Report November 2016

Publication type

Research and Project Evaluations

Publisher

PeacePlayers International

Year

2016

PeacePlayers International – South Africa (PPI - South Africa) is a sport for development program that serves children and youth ages 10 and above who live in Durban and the surrounding areas, including the townships of Umlazi and Lamontville.

Founded in 2001, the organisation aims to help young people from different communities live peacefully together and have positive aspirations for the future. Each year the program engages approximately 500 youth and coaches in a variety of activities, including basketball practices, tournaments and games, community service projects and coach training sessions.

This evaluation assesses how effectively the organisation designs and implements activities, and whether it has achieved intended program outcomes. To that end, it focuses on several key areas: 1) Program context, including community and youth development priorities, and what attracts participants to join PPI – South Africa; 2) Coaching, specifically coach training and coach – participant relationships; and 3) Program outcomes, with a focus on leadership development, self-identity and values, and positive relationships. 

The evaluation utilised a mixed methodology, including surveys, participatory focus groups, key informant interviews and observations; data was collected with youth participants, coaches, staff and program stakeholders. Key findings include: 

  • Discrimination based on race, gender and cultural group is a major community development priority in Durban. On an individual level, youth consider personal assets such as self-esteem and responsibility as critical to future success. 
  • One of the major strengths of PPI – South Africa is the positive relationships between coaches and participants; this allows coaches to serve as role models and key influencers among their teams.
  • PPI – South Africa successfully builds leadership skills and confidence among participants, helps youth learn to set and achieve personal goals, and fosters positive relationships among those from different communities. However, the evaluation also found negative perceptions regarding gender equity, particularly among males and primary school-age participants.

Visit the PeacePlayers International website to learn more about their results.

 

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Published

02/20/2017 - 10:00

Active education: growing evidence on physical activity and academic performance

Publication type

Research and Project Evaluations

Publisher

Active Living Research

Year

2017

This report reviews published scientific articles that examine how physical activity and fitness may help school-aged children maximise their academic performance. It also provides an overview of the effects of physical activity on the developing brain.

Key findings

Physical activity can have both immediate and long-term benefits on academic performance. Almost immediately after engaging in physical activity, children are better able to concentrate on classroom tasks, which can enhance learning. Over time, as children engage in developmentally appropriate physical activity, their improved physical fitness can have additional positive effects on academic performance in mathematics, reading, and writing. Recent evidence shows how physical activity’s effects on the brain may create these positive outcomes.

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Published

02/16/2017 - 10:16

European Week of Sport 2016 Evaluation Report

Publication type

Background and Situation Reports

Publisher

European Commission

Year

2017

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During the months of October and November 2016, the European Commission consulted, via an on-line survey, national coordinating bodies, European partners of the Week and Erasmus+: Sport project leaders.

The feedback received represents a unanimous view: the second European Week of Sport was a huge success.

Key findings

In brief, in 2016: 

  • the number of events and participants doubled compared to 2015, reaching  over 15,000 events with 10 million active participants
  • the number of sport organisations committed to supporting the Week (now 35 European partners) increased
  • the strong visual branding created in 2015 was developed further with copyright-free photos provided for the use of all key players

The results of the social media campaign are also impressive. On Twitter, the hashtag #BeActive was used more than 34,000 times during the campaign from May to September with a potential reach of over 180 million users. During the opening event alone, over 5 million users were reached. Adding up the estimated 20 million viewers of TV spots on Eurosport and the potential number of reaches of the #BeActive campaign gives a total of over 200 million Europeans reached.

Many participating countries developed their own Facebook pages and Twitter accounts, and some also collaborated with public TVs to show spots or broadcast activities live. The support of national ambassadors was recognised as important in raising the profile of the campaign.

Download and read the full report.

Visit the European Commission website for more information

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Published

01/24/2017 - 09:23

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Waves for Change 2016 Impact Report

Publication type

Background and Situation Reports

Publisher

Waves for Change

Year

2017

Files

AttachmentSize
PDF icon Waves for Change 2016 Impact Report2.86 MB

Waves for Change provides safe spaces, access to caring adults, and provision of weekly ‘Surf Therapy Sessions’, to help young people from volatile backgrounds develop skills to regulate behaviour, build healing relationships, cope with stress and make positive life-choices.

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Published

01/12/2017 - 09:48

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Journal of Sport for Development: Volume 4 Issue 7

Publication type

Journal Articles

Publisher

Journal of Sport for Development

Year

2016

Files

AttachmentSize
PDF icon JSFD Vol 4 Issue 7 Dec 20162.65 MB

JSFD’s mission is to examine, advance and disseminate evidence, best practices, and lessons learned from Sport for Development programmes and interventions. JSFD is the first peer-reviewed, open-access journal devoted to exclusively publishing research from the field of Sport for Development.

Evaluation protocol: Netball to promote physical and mental health in Samoa and Tonga

  • Richards, Sherry, Philpott, Keane, Schulenkorf, Bauman

Called to serve: Exploring servant leadership in the context of sport-fordevelopment

  • Wells, Welty Peachey

Examining the role of life skills developed through Salvadoran physical education programs on the prevention of youth violence

  • Mandigo, Corlett, Ticas

Challenges and strategies for success of a sport-for-development programme for First Nations, Métis and Inuit youth

  • Halsall, Forneris

‘A phone call changed my life’: Exploring the motivations of sport for development and peace scholars

  • Welty Peachey, Cohen, Musser

Visit the Journal of Sport for Development website for more information.

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Published

12/22/2016 - 09:30

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Evaluation protocol: Netball to promote physical and mental health in Samoa and Tonga

Publication type

Journal Articles

Publisher

Journal of Sport for Development

Year

2016

The overall objectives of the netball programs in Samoa and Tonga are to build local governance capacity, provide leadership opportunities for women and sustainably increase recreational physical activity to improve health across all age-groups.

Evaluation Rationale

It is widely accepted that physical activity has health benefits and that it is a critical component of addressing the global emergence of non-communicable diseases. This may be particularly pertinent in Samoa and Tonga where almost 50% of adults are insufficiently active, the prevalence of overweight is among the highest in the world (i.e. >80%) and the costs of related non-communicable diseases are escalating. However, the promotion of physical activity may also have broader implications in Samoa and Tonga. Specifically, there is growing evidence that physical activity participation can prevent mental illness (e.g. depression) and is associated with mental well-being (e.g. happiness). It is also evident that mental health may be an important mediating factor for preventing early mortality due to non-communicable diseases. Despite a paucity of data on the mental health needs of Pacific Island Countries, suicide rates are higher than the global average, suggesting that mental illnesses may be prevalent. Consequently, addressing this apparent mental health need through physical activity interventions may also play an important role in reducing the burden of non-communicable diseases in Samoa and Tonga.

Increasing physical activity and preventing non-communicable diseases are stated objectives of the One Netball Pacific program in Samoa and Tonga. These programs commenced in 2009 in Samoa and 2011 in Tonga and have received ongoing strategic and resource support from Netball Australia, enabled through Pacific Sports Partnership funding. Despite concurrent qualitative evaluation of program delivery, there has been limited quantitative evaluation of intervention processes or its impact on netball participation, physical activity levels and other health-related indicators. Furthermore, we are not aware of any published evaluations assessing the impact of netball participation on body composition, mental well-being or the subsequent reduced risk of other non-communicable diseases.

The purpose of this evaluation is to address a gap between current practice and existing evidence in the sport-for-development sector. Despite pervasive positive rhetoric about the health implications of sport programs that continues to attract ongoing international investment, the evidence base remains limited.

Therefore, we aim to conduct a process and impact evaluation of the One Netball Pacific program in Samoa and Tonga. Specifically, we aim to assess the organisational objectives of “creating more opportunities for women and girls to take part in physical activity through netball” to “improve health-related behaviours” and “reduce the impact of non-communicable diseases in these communities”.

Evaluation objectives
To assess the delivery and reach of One Netball Pacific programs and its impact on program registrant: netball access; netball participation; recreational physical activity; body composition; mental well-being.

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Published

12/09/2016 - 10:51

Physical Literacy Policy in Education, Sport, Health, Recreation

The International Charter for Physical Education, Physical Activity and Sport clearly states that vested agencies must participate in creating a strategic vision and identify policy options and priorities that enable the fundamental right for all people to participate in meaningful physical activity across their life course

Date

Wed, 11/30/2016 - 17:00 to 18:30

Location

Birmingham
United Kingdom

Physical literacy is a rapidly evolving concept being used in policy-making but has been limited by pre-existing and sometimes bias interpretations of the construct. The aim of this seminar is to present a new model of physical literacy policy considerations for key decision makers in the fields of public health, recreation, sport and education. Internationally debated definitions of physical literacy and the wider construct of literacy were reviewed in order to establish common pillars of physical literacy in an applicable policy model. This model strives to be consistent with international understandings of what ‘physical literacy’ is, and how it is to be used in order to achieve established and developing public health, recreation, sport and educative goals.

About the Speaker
Dr Dean Dudley is from Macquarie University and was an Expert Consultant on the Quality Physical Education Guidelines for Policymakers published by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in 2015. He teaches in the Health and Physical Education disciplines for pre-service teachers. Dean's research is currently focused on the assessment and reporting of physical education and the development of policy and learning outcomes pertaining to physical literacy. He is also a researcher of evidence-based approaches to health and physical education that yield large learning effects in the cognitive, affective and psychomotor learning domains. Dean's recent work has been to investigate contribution schools and education make toward the health and learning of school-aged youth.

Visit the event website for more information.

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Street League Annual Report 2015-16

Publication type

Background and Situation Reports

Publisher

Street League

Year

2016

Files

AttachmentSize
PDF icon Street League Annual Report 2015-163.86 MB

Street League’s annual report openly declares that the charity weren’t able to help 109 young people who engaged with them during the 12 months ending March 2016.

Street League’s ‘Call for Clarity’ campaign includes ‘three golden rules’ which the charity uses for transparent reporting:

  • Never over-claim what they do.
  • When quoting percentages, absolute numbers should also be provided.
  • All outcomes are backed by auditable evidence.

Street League’s annual report openly declares that the charity weren’t able to help 109 young people who engaged with them during the 12 months ending March 2016. They then go on to provide reasons why these young people dropped out without gaining a job or training outcome before talking about the many successes they achieved during the year, including helping 1281 young people gain a job or training outcome. On the programme, unemployed young people play sport or participate in physical activity programmes while also obtaining key employability skills, such as literacy and numeracy qualifications they may have missed out on in formal education. They then move into work placements and apprenticeships with employers, with the ultimate goal of moving into sustainable employment.

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Published

11/14/2016 - 12:22

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