This section provides a number of practical suggestions to improve the capacity of organisations and individuals involved in sport and development.


Recognise potential risks
Experience shows that being aware of potential risks and taking suitable measures to anticipate them can help to avoid problems in the future. Attempts should be made to empathise with the constraints and challenges the local partner in its local situation faces. Experience shows that regarding sport as an integral part of the programme with a view of capacity building that incorporates sport and development elements, helps to ensure better quality programmes in the long-run with increased sustainability.

Attempt capacity building at all levels
Capacity building can be divided into interventions at three levels: human resource development (HRD), organisational development (OD) and institutional development (ID). Good and sustainable capacity building is conditional upon investing in all three levels.

It is difficult for sport organisations to be active at all three levels but it is a necessity if one aims to improve the sustainability of a programme. It is difficult to negotiate with ministries for the recognition of diplomas, for supporting legislation (for example, physical education), so that trained sport instructors can work in schools. It can be useful to try to accomplish these tasks through networking with organisations that might use other methodology to reach an overall development goal.

As a consequence, in some countries the sport projects of sport and development organisations are ‘filling the gap’ in the lack of physical education on the school curriculum. Investments will therefore also have to be made at OD and ID levels in order to ensure these sport activities are sustainable and are used to achieve the objectives set at the initial stages of the programme.

A joint consultation process should take place to decide what changes are needed internally and what possibilities there are for institutional change. A possible next step can be networking with other stakeholders in the field and/or signing agreements with the local/national governments.

There are many examples of different forms of cooperation between organisations. For instance, KNVB and UNICEF offer their core capacities within the MYSA project, in which KNVB concentrates on activities in relation to football and UNICEF is responsible for guiding the elements of the programme that relate to social change.

Local ownership is essential
Many of the projects currently being implemented in Sport & Development are not locally owned. A cooperative relationship must be developed with a local partner organisation before starting a project.


Assessment of partners and potential of cooperation
It is important to assess capacities and resources of each organisation entering into a partnership before joining forces. Questions such as: “Do the organisations match in terms of mission and vision? What resources does each partner bring to the programme? Does the local partner organisation have the capacity to absorb the programme and what can other partners do to enhance this? What measures are in place to encourage learning and to share experiences between the partners involved?” should be asked before entering into a formal partnership.

A tool has been developed by Commonwealth Games Canada for the selection of a suitable partner: the Partnership Filter. Potential partners are screened on the basis of several criteria.

Go to the partnerships section to read more about this instrument: examples of how it can be used and advice is provided for selecting and successfully developing with partners.

Qualifications of trainers posted abroad
People who had been trained as sport leaders used to be sent abroad to implement Sport & Development programmes. Qualified staff need to be enlisted. Feedback from experts has shown that a shift is now taking place in the background of people who are posted overseas, with a decreasing focus on recruitment of unqualified staff.

Many projects train local people. This is capacity building at the level of HRD. Often the project ends after the training. But what happens next with the individual capacity that has been developed? Is it used by the partner organisation? Are more sport activities offered? To what extent does the target group take part? It is of great importance to monitor and evaluate the implementation that takes place after the training sessions and to plan measures in the design phase of projects and programmes that will lead to sustainability.


Photo by Jesse Orrico