India’s sport and development landscape today
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Considering the current situation of the sector in India, how might we learn from others and grow?

India‘s progress in sport and development has been somewhat limited compared to other developing nations. As highlighted recently on sportanddev.org, the popularity of sport is low, access to funding can be tricky and the focus on education and health seems to be higher priority.

Nonetheless, India’s sport and development ecosystem is growing. The country is home to some important organisations, initiatives and events, some of which are highlighted below for any newcomer looking to understand the basics.

Magic Bus
Magic Bus is Asia's largest mentoring organisation, working to take a million children living in poverty on a “journey from childhood to livelihood”. Using football and now other sports, this organisation is the leader of sport and development in India. Having started in 1999, the organisation has had significant impact: Magic Bus currently supports over 360,000 children and 8,500 young people across 22 states in India, thus making it an effective model to learn from.

Naz India Goal
Goal is a programme which uses sport and life skills education to transform the lives of adolescent girls, primarily aged 12-18 who live in underserved communities. The programme is divided into four themes: communication, health and hygiene, rights and financial literacy. The curriculum is available free of charge and should be understood as a guideline and should be adapted to suit local context and need.

Pro Sport Development
Pro Sport Development (PSD) uses sport for the holistic development of youth. It promotes long-term participation in sport and provides a platform to excel and progress to higher levels. PSD works toward the development of sport at the grassroots level by developing and implementing Physical Education (PE) and multi-sport programs in schools and communities, training coaches and PE teachers, and managing sports programmes.

Key report - ‘Power of Play’
A report by leading Indian philanthropic NGO, Dasra, recommends the integration of sport into India’s development agenda, development of proficient ‘best practice’ programmes and effective programme delivery leading to programme sustainability. Its findings are based on a review of 70 non-profit organisations running sport and development programmes in India.

Government involvement - PYKKA
Panchayat Yuva Krida Aur Khel Abhiyan (PYKKA) is a rural sports initiative introduced by the Indian Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports to promote youth and social development. PYKKA provides funds for the development and maintenance of sports' grounds in villages and block panchayats, and they have plans to introduce such facilities throughout India over a period of 10 years. PYKKA also facilitates the organisation of district, state and national level competitions.

Key conferences

  • Maidan Summit is an initiative to bring together and encourage ideas and action. Driven by Magic Bus, it is an information-sharing platform where individuals and organisations spell out sport’s potential in development and the ways it is helping society.
  • Next Step Conference 2014 offered a much-needed opportunity to exhibit the many possibilities for investment and growth in the sector – for governments, practitioners, corporate houses, the sports industry, colleges and universities, and above all, children and youth. With more than 300 participants from 20 countries, the event was the first of its kind in India and was also run by Magic Bus.

This article is part one of four in a series about India's sport and development landscape. The next part explores fundraising.




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