Celebrating IDSDP with recreational volleyball
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In the lead up to IDSDP 2021, Pro Sport Development held a small volleyball tournament with partner organizations to show people, firsthand, the power of sport.

Sport plays a key role in advancing social progress within the global sustainable development process. April 6 is celebrated as the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace (IDSDP), acknowledging the power of sport to foster peace, resilience, health, hope and understanding by bringing people together across boundaries, cultures and religions.

Across the world, countries have started to open up, as governments have begun outlining COVID-19 rules and guidelines, in order to support the reopening of various sectors. In India, things began opening up by mid-2020, and we at Pro Sport Development have been coming into office a couple times a week.

In the last few months, as our workplaces slowly began to open up, we have been using the open outdoor space in our office (shared with partner organizations PRIA and MFF) to play sport recreationally during our lunch breaks or after work. Most recently, in December 2020, we held a cricket tournament which continued for 6 weeks, with teams playing their matches during lunch.

A volleyball tournament

Thus, to celebrate IDSDP this year, we decided to host a volleyball tournament with PRIA and MFF on 1 April, keeping all COVID-19 guidelines in mind. People of all genders and age groups participated in the tournament, with the oldest player being 70 years old, and the youngest players being in their early 20s.

Teams were made up of 4 people, with mixed ages and genders and from the different organizations. Each match consisted of three games of 7 points each, and the winner of 2 games won the match. The rules were that the ball had to be passed three times within your team before passing it over to the other team – that way, everyone in the team got a chance to be involved and play.

In an attempt to promote fair play, it was stipulated that the playing teams had to referee themselves. A fair play award was instituted for the team which was most sincere in their sportsmanship. A committee of three judges, one from each organization, judged the teams to decide the fair play winner.

Sport at the workplace

After the tournament, everyone got together to discuss the role that sports plays in our lives, reflecting on the volleyball tournament and the other games played during lunch breaks. This discussion was a way for participants to reflect on the power of sport in our own lives, and a way for PSD to make others (who don’t work in sport and development) to realize the impact that sport can have.

Many reflected that they had a lot of fun in the tournament and during lunchtime activities, and these were good opportunities for them to be active and to unwind. A study of workplace sport in UK business found that playing sport at the work not only keeps people healthy, but also improves their productivity.

This point was iterated by Niharika Kaul from PRIA, who said, “I feel positive and refreshed after playing sports. When I have to go back to work, I feel refreshed, and it gives me clarity and peace of mind. It also helps reduce my stress.”

The sport activities at work also allow employees to bond together in a non-competitive environment and learn about each other a little more. This was noted by Yashvi Sharma from PRIA, who said: “Now that we have started playing games together in office, we have been able to learn about the new employees more quickly. Earlier, unless the new employees were part of your project, you did not get a chance to know them until much later.”

The tournament and lunchtime games also served to break barriers and allowed casual interactions with coworkers on a level playing field. As Anshuman Karol from PRIA said, “When we play together, there is no senior, no junior. It doesn’t matter if you are old or young, woman or man, boss or not. We learn to respect each other and value each other’s strengths.”

For others, the tournament and at lunchtime sports gave them a chance to play and learn different sports, a chance they had never gotten before in their lives. As Chandra Shekhar Joshi from PRIA said: “I never played sports in school, but now I can express myself through sport, and it is a lot of fun. I have learnt so many different games also through these lunch time sport breaks.”

Having such activities at the workplace can be a great way for employees to learn to work together, learn more about each other, and engage in recreational physical activity. Indeed, the activity was so successful that some people requested to make the volleyball tournament a monthly activity, and most people continue to play volleyball during their lunch breaks.


Sport and Development
Pro Sport Development