Call for articles: Participatory approaches in sport for development
Sport for development (SfD) has significantly grown and matured as a field, with thousands of organisations, NGOs and clubs now using sport-based approaches to support a variety of sustainable development objectives.
With its growth, the field has also become subject to numerous criticisms. For instance, there have been concerns about activities taking place individually without being part of a larger programme or strategy, the reproduction of power structures and the lack of attention paid to systemic factors. In turn, these weaknesses are believed to foster short-term and misaligned outcomes that do not sustainably promote change. Given this, there have been calls for more holistic, structural approaches that target and address all levels of society while engaging with organisational, institutional, and political actors.
Responding to this, one potential solution concerns using participatory approaches to develop and deliver SfD programmes. Participatory approaches involve implementers working collaboratively with community members and stakeholders to identify problems, potential solutions, desired outcomes, and ways of measurement. They are flexible to changes to the approach based on the wishes of programme participants and other stakeholders.
As part of the Erasmus+ funded Sport for Social Cohesion Lab (SSCL) project, we have worked to support the implementation of a highly-participatory Living Lab approach within five sport for social cohesion programmes in four different European countries. Insights, learning and tools from the project are shared on our project page, as well as in a related toolkit.
Send us your submissions
Yet our experiences and our particular approach are hardly the final word. We would like organisations, practitioners and academics to share their experiences and insights on adopting participatory approaches (e.g. participatory action research, co-production, Living Labs) within their programmes.
You may consider the following questions:
- What kind of participatory approaches have you implemented within your programmes?
- What were the advantages, challenges and opportunities associated with that approach?
- What do political and institutional actors need to do to better support holistic, more participatory approaches in SfD?
- What are common factors and approaches that may optimise the impact of such participatory approaches?
- What can the SfD sector as a whole do to promote the more widespread use of participatory approaches?
The questions below are just suggestions to spark some ideas – you are welcome to write an article from any angle as long as the main focus is participatory approaches in SfD. We welcome submissions from a range of stakeholders across the sportanddev community.
All contributions will be published on the sportanddev website and will appropriately credit contributors and their organisations.
Send your contributions to [email protected].
- Be 500-1,000 words long
- Include a relevant photo in landscape (horizontal) orientation, for which you own the copyright, or is subject to some form of creative commons licence. If you do not have a picture, we will attempt to source one
- Include a 1-2 sentence biography of the author(s)
- Include links to any Twitter or Facebook accounts you would like associated with the post
- Include links to any websites you would like associated with the post
- Not be promotional or press releases but rather share learning for the broader field
sportanddev has published this call for articles as part of our participation in the Sport and Social Cohesion Lab (SSCL). You can find more information and tools from the project here.
- Bochum, Germany: The German Sport University (who are the coordinator of the project) and In Safe Hands
- Dublin, Ireland: Munster Technological University and Sport Against Racism Ireland (SARI)
- 's-Hertogenbosch, the Netherlands: International Sports Alliance (ISA)
- The Hague, the Netherlands: The Hague University of Applied Sciences
- Olomouc, Czech Republic: INEX-SDA / fotbal pro Rozvoj and Palacky University Olomouc
- Vienna, Austria: The European Network of Sport Education
- Copenhagen, Denmark: The International Platform on Sport and Development (sportanddev)
Image by Tim Kramer, depicting Living Lab activities in Bochum, Germany.