A number of challenges remain when considering capacity building in a sport and development context.


Experts and practitioners identified the following pitfalls:

Western models and relevance

  • Capacity building within sports organisations is often based on Western models, which may not be applicable in many developing countries. These tools should be adapted to the local context.


Lack of sports structures and insufficiently qualified coaches and facilitators

  • Capacity building within sports organisations often focuses on investing in individual people, such as training trainers, referees and recreational sport leaders. Less often capacity building is aimed at investing in organisations and infrastructure. This makes an organisation vulnerable e.g. when trained personnel choose to leave the organisation.
  • Development organisations devote little attention to capacity building within sport. They see sport as an activity. Hardly any investments are made in strengthening a particular sport or the organisations behind it. Lack of sustainability in the sports activities is often the result.
  • Often, sport is used as an activity and implemented by facilitators and ‘coaches’ with no sports coaching expertise. This might be counter productive as the pedagogical aspects of teaching sport are an important element of using sport as a tool to reach development objectives.
  • There is frequently a demand for trainers and training systems, but rarely are the capacities of local partners assessed beforehand in order to judge whether the partner will be in a position to train people itself after the project is completed. To achieve sustainable impact, the local organisation needs to have developed training skills.


Donor-recipient relationship

  • The relationship between the donor and the recipient organisation is not often one of equals. A partnership in which both donor and recipient are aware of expectations and what can realistically be delivered is crucial.

Photo by Jesse Orrico