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Unlocking the power of sustainability in Africa's sport for peace and development sector
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Redirecting the funding and resources that have traditionally flowed into European organizations to their African counterparts is key to having a sustainable impact and using resources efficiently.

In recent years, the Sport for Peace and Development (S4D) sector in Africa has emerged as a powerful movement for positive change. Organizations, both local and international, have come together to address pressing issues outlined in the sustainable development goals. Large entities like the United Nations and international sports federations like FIFA and the IOC have invested millions of dollars, making significant strides in promoting peace, justice, human rights, and combating poverty, hunger, and inequality.

As we enter a new decade, it's essential to reflect on the progress made and the lessons learned in the S4D sector. This movement is no longer just a niche field; it's now mainstream and embraced by not only mega sporting bodies but also other sectors. However, there are critical factors to consider from an African perspective if we aim to strengthen and sustain the S4D sector.

In Africa, thousands of organizations, ranging from international development aid agencies to local businesses and NGOs, contribute to the S4D ecosystem. While some organizations have thrived, many others face challenges in achieving sustainability. The million-dollar question is, how can we make sustainability a reality in the S4D sector in Africa?

One crucial aspect to address is the disparity between European and Western S4D organizations and their African counterparts. European and Western organizations often have easier access to major sport bodies, greater funding opportunities, larger budgets which contribute to their sustainability. They attract significant resources from private companies, international governments, athletes, and major sports organizations.

Our call to action is clear: redirect the funding and resources that have traditionally flowed into European organizations to their African counterparts. Invest in local and existing structures in Africa for several compelling reasons:

1) Understanding Our Communities:

African organizations have a deep understanding of local communities and their needs.

2) Long-Term Commitment:

Africa is our home, and we are here for the long run, ensuring sustained impact.

3) Sustainable Impact:

Investing in local structures ensures greater impact over more extended periods.

4) Efficient Resource Utilization:

Funds directly invested in African organizations make every dollar or euro go further, enhancing sustainability.

Historically, African organizations have often been at the tail end of decision-making processes in S4D projects. It's time to change this narrative. Pan-African organizations must have a seat at the table where decisions are made on Africa's behalf. African organizations should be the primary implementers of projects across the continent, as it makes sense on multiple levels.

While we acknowledge that improvements are needed in how some African S4D organizations operate, it's essential to recognize that such issues are not unique to Africa. By reforming the approach to support S4D in Africa, we can create a positive ripple effect, leading to better-resourced organizations, attracting top talent, ensuring sustainability, and ultimately achieving greater impact and more sustainable communities.

In conclusion, let's explore new ways to channel support for S4D across Africa. Directly investing funds raised for African aid in the S4D sector into African organizations can transform the landscape, unlocking the sector's full potential. Together, we can create a brighter and more sustainable future for Africa through the power of sport for peace and development.

Authors

SSCN Africa CEO
Sport for Social Change Network Africa

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