Advocacy and policymaking in the sport for development space
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On 4 March 2021, over 90 attendees from over 20 countries participated in the Advocacy and Policymaking in the Sport for Development space webinar co-hosted by Girls in the Lead (GIL) and Yunus Sports Hub (YSH).

GIL is leading a series of webinars with the support of Swedish Postcode Foundation, which aim to strengthen sport for development organizations on a variety of topics, from gender in sport programmes to social business and policymaking. The next webinar will take place on 8 April and will focus on safeguarding youth and girls in sport for development organizations.

The Advocacy and Policymaking webinar featured speakers from various organizations who lead on policymaking and advocacy in the sport for development and sport for social change space. Nancy McLennan and Arilí Aguirre García (UNESCO) opened the webinar with a presentation and discussion of the recently published tools and resources on quality physical education. Participants heard first-hand about the process and purpose behind the development of the different tools with a particular focus on the How to influence the development of Quality Physical Education policy: a policy advocacy toolkit for youth.’

The first panel featured a lively discussion between Kalyani Subramanyam, Chief Operating Officer at the Naz Foundation India Trust, and Maria Bobenrieth, Executive Director at Women Win. During the conversation, participants also heard from Dorcas Amakobe, Executive Director of Moving the Goalposts, who added how her organization is working with their local county government offices to better understand gender and inclusive budgeting and policies in addition to piloting a project to track resources available for girls of all backgrounds. Kalyani shared with the audience lessons learned from her organization’s engagement with a national level policy around LGBTQI+ communities in India and explained how becoming advocates for different causes and policies has happened by default because of the way they design, engage and implement programmes with specific communities. She stressed to the audience members to think about why advocacy is important to their work and how it can become your philosophy.

Maria reflected on the need to democratize philanthropy in the sport for development and sport for change sector. She advocated for an increased investment in youth led and girl led organizations, particularly those that are local, nascent, and often unregistered organizations. She described the ONSIDE Fund, a participatory grantmaking structure led by a panel of peers who review programmes and are part of the decision making process concerning who and what should be invested in. All three leaders provided key insights and food for thought for the subsequent breakout room sessions where groups of up to ten participants had the chance to reflect on the inputs and transfer them to their own local contexts.

The second panel session featured Thuba Sibanda, Program Director of Physically Active Youth Namibia, Adeola Adesoba representing the Commonwealth Youth Sport for Development and Peace Network, Jean-Claude Rugigana IT & Communications Officer of the Rwanda National Olympic and Sports Committee and Mie Kajikawa, Founder of Sport For Smile. The four panelists explained how they advocate for sports’ role in development and social change at the individual, community and national levels. Jean-Claude shared his experiences designing Sport4Change media platforms to encourage youth to take part in the sport movement and an overall goal to change people's misconception about sport through positive media. Thuba described how she uses her previous lived experiences as a youth in sport for development programmes to advocate for inclusive and safe spaces for youth, particularly girls and young women.

Adeola spoke about the importance and value of youth having a seat at the table in high-level settings when decisions on sports roles in social development are being made. She shared her experience working with and creating different kinds of advocacy and policy making tools with youth. Mie reflected on Sport for Smile’s development in Japan as a platform for sport for social change as well as internationally through partnerships with a variety of stakeholders.

The GIL event page will function as the resource hub for the many topics discussed throughout the webinar. Anyone who missed the webinar, is encouraged to visit the page to view the recording.

GIL & YSH would like to thank all the speakers and participants who contributed to making the webinars a space for exchange, discussion, collaboration and networking.

To learn more about GIL, please visit the platform. Don’t forget to join the YSH Sport & Social Business Community!

  • View a recording of the webinar here


Yunus Sports Hub