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Reshaping sport and development: sportanddev.org website and online course in multiple languages
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By working in English, French, Arabic and Spanish, sportanddev and partners aim to contribute to a more democratic movement where more voices are heard.

On 24 February, sportanddev launched our online course and website in Spanish with a webinar led by our team in Latin America. This represents new ground for us. It builds on the work we’ve already been doing in English, French and, since December 2023, Arabic.  

Why is it important to work in different languages? 

The sport for development sector has grown rapidly in the past 20 years, but it is still very unequal. Organisations in high-income regions have more resources and more influence on policy. Covid-19 and other crises have exacerbated that inequality, with organisations in more under-resourced regions at risk, while recent gains made may be lost. 

One reason for this inequality is that information, tools and resources are often siloed, inaccessible and exclusive, and not available in other languages or formats. People who can speak and understand English can access more learning resources, events and opportunities. Those who can’t are disadvantaged. They have fewer options to improve their skills and ultimately less influence on global policy.  

Regions such as the Middle East, West Africa and Latin America are hugely important but are often underrepresented in sport for development policy discussions. We have launched our website and online course in different languages to tackle these challenges and respond to the needs of our diverse global community. 

Why English, French, Arabic and Spanish?

While Mandarin Chinese has the highest number of first-language speakers, according to Berlitz English has the most when considering both native and non-native speakers (1.452 billion). Spanish is the fourth most widely spoken language overall, with more first-language speakers than English.

French and Arabic come in at fifth and sixth respectively. All four languages are spoken in multiple countries and also commonly learnt by non-native speakers. They are also spoken in regions of the world where many organisations implement sport for development policies and programmes.

There are many languages in the world – more than 7,000, according to Ethnologue. However, we felt these four languages were a good place to start. They are also four of the six United Nations official languages, with Russian and Chinese being the other two which we may attempt to work in, in the future.  

How can you benefit from the sportanddev.org website? 

We launched the sportanddev website in English in 2003, French in 2015, Arabic in December 2023 and Spanish in February 2024:  

We have upgraded our website thanks to the support of the Swedish Postcode Foundation and other partners. On it, you can find the latest news, job opportunities, events, research, media and more from around the world.  

You also have the chance to share your expertise and promote your/organisation’s work – find out how to submit content. While our English website has a longer history, we aim to publish as much original content in French, Arabic and Spanish as possible. We will also translate key content to encourage learning between different regions and language groups, helping to reshape the balance of power in sport and development.  

(To submit content in French, Arabic or Spanish, please email us for more details: [email protected]

What can you learn from our online course?  

Our massive open online course (MOOC), Sport for Sustainable Development: Designing Effective Policies and Programmes, has been a major success since its launch in July 2020. Over 6,700 learners from 191 countries across all six continents (and counting) have enrolled with positive reviews from learners, policymakers, practitioners and academics. 

By registering, you will look at the benefits and limitations of using sport in development. You will learn to design, implement, and measure the impact of sport-based policies and programmes.  

You will explore key concepts on sport and gender equality, disability, human rights, social inclusion, peacebuilding, good governance and safeguarding. The course is open access and free of charge. 

How can you support our work? 

The sportanddev website and online course present partnership and funding opportunities for organisations - with significant benefits for partners, including visibility, branding and influence. For more information, contact Dr Ben Sanders, Senior Consultant: [email protected] 

Background 

  • Our online course is developed and managed by the International Platform on Sport and Development (sportanddev), the Australian Government and Commonwealth Secretariat

  • The Arabic course and website are part of a partnership between sportanddev and the Qatar Fund for Development to strengthen sport for development in the Middle East and North Africa. 

  • The Swedish Postcode Foundation supported the upgrade of the sportanddev website and the French and Spanish courses. 

  • A range of partners and in-kind supporters contributed to our campaign on Reshaping Sport and Development to champion, strengthen and sustain the sport for development sector. 

  • The translation of course content was in partnership with Translators Without Borders

  • sportanddev is hosted and supported by the International Sport and Culture Association with whom we have a multi-year partnership to strengthen the sport for development and sport for all sectors. 

  • The launch of these resources in other languages has been informed and guided by the sportanddev community. It is part of our strategy to ensure greater access, inclusion and equity in sport for development and reshape a more diverse and democratic movement where all voices can be heard, including those from underrepresented regions.  

  • sportanddev would like to thank all partners and the broader sport for development community for supporting us in this work.   

Authors

Senior Project Manager
International Platform on Sport and Development

Tags

Country
All countries
Region
All regions
Sport
All sports
Sustainable Development Goals
10 – Reduced inequalities
Target Group
Does not apply

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