Playmakers: Bridging the gaps in the Indian sport for society ecosystem
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In the last decade, non-profit and social enterprises involved with sports programmes in India have gained recognition for their impact in promoting inclusive play and addressing historically marginalised groups and communities, including persons with disabilities, gender, and vulnerable populations in tribal areas.

However, many of these organisations often work in silos with limited connections and cross-sharing of practices and learnings.

This is where the Playmakers Collaborative comes in. Playmakers is a collaborative by and for the Indian sports-for-society ecosystem that aims to bridge the gap in a stakeholder-driven manner.

Led by four anchor members - Pro Sport Development, ELMS Sports Foundation, Sportz Village Foundation, and Naandi Foundation, the Playmakers Collaborative aims to enable and support the missions of organisations that are working on matters of access to sport and physical activity in India. It is convened by the Sports and Society Accelerator, an ecosystem builder working on universal physical activity in India by 2047, with every child playing, and every adult active.

The collaborative has been designed with three broad (and evolving) goals in mind:

  • Produce open-source bodies of knowledge and public goods for use within the sector.
  • Build relationships with government- Central and States, policymakers, supporters, and the media.
  • ● Develop sector-wide capacity in organisational development, programming, and networking.

The collaborative is based on two pillars. The first pillar is building common resources together, which involves discussions and deliberations to expand understanding of the sector, build capacity, and work together to develop further common goods. This includes resources for monitoring and evaluation, developing common definitions, and formalising the sector. The needs of the sector will be identified by stakeholders, and solutions will involve them.

The second pillar is developing the ecosystem through networks, which involves achieving policy and social goals through collective awareness building and direct contact with policymakers and donors. This can help direct attention towards the sector, increase efficiency,
and improve outcomes.

One of the key potential strengths of Playmakers is its focus on stakeholder-driven solutions. By involving organisations and individuals working in the sector, the collaborative ensures that its efforts are aligned with the needs of the sector and the ecosystem at large. It also aims for it to be a space for cross-sharing of practices and learnings, enabling organisations to learn from each other and improve their impact.

Another strength of the collaborative is its focus on building sector-wide capacity. By producing open-source bodies of knowledge and public goods, the collaborative aims to improve the quality of programming across the sector. This can lead to better outcomes for the communities served by the ecosystem.

In addition, the focus on building relationships with governments, policymakers, supporters, and the media is essential for the sector's long-term sustainability. By showcasing the sector's ability and the opportunity, and engaging with key stakeholders, the collaborative can attract more funding and support for the sector's work. It can also add much-needed capacity to the government’s vision through implementation and programmatic support.

As India builds a 25-year foundation during its G20 Presidency towards India at 100, this is a pivotal time for this collaborative to showcase, enhance, and accelerate the Indian sport for development potential.

By bridging the knowledge and awareness gap between organisations working in the sector, the collaborative has the potential to improve the quality of programming
and increase the sector's impact.

We look forward to seeing the impact of Playmakers Collaborative evolve in the coming months and years, especially as we work towards a strong data and evidence-led framework for the sector, and integrate the benefit of sport and physical activity as a meaningful social and health impact intervention.

Do get in touch with us in case you wish to connect and know more about the work we are doing.

You can reach out to us at [email protected] in case you would like to know more.


This article was contributed by the Sports and Society Accelerator, India.


All Sports
Sustainable Development Goals
10 - Reduced Inequalities
Target Group
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