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Join over 6000 people in our free, massive open online course aimed at practitioners and academics in the field of sport and development.

Sport for Sustainable Development: Designing Effective Policies and Programmes

A freely available online course to help individuals and organisations harness the potential of sport in their work towards sustainable development.    

With more governments and organisations around the world recognising sport as an enabler of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), sport is increasingly being used as a tool to address issues ranging from health and education to employment and conflict resolution. 

But, despite the increasing use of sport and growing perception of its value, individuals and organisations have limited opportunities to learn how to maximise sport’s positive impact.

To address this gap, the International Platform on Sport and Development, the Australian Government and Commonwealth Secretariat have collaborated to support the development of a free online course on Sport for Sustainable Development. 

Sport for Sustainable Development: Designing Effective Policies and Programmes marks the release of the first ever free massive open online course (MOOC) on sport for development. 



Below we feature testimonials from learners and key stakeholders, providing their opinions on why the course is valuable and vital for those seeking to use sport to contribute to sustainable development and build back better. More learner reviews of the course.


"The longstanding work and engagement of the Commonwealth Secretariat in support of collaboration among our member countries to develop policies and programmes on sport and development have yielded valuable perspectives and practical understanding of how life opportunities for people from all backgrounds can be improved through well-designed and adaptable strategies.

Our focus is on extending the benefits of sport to more people, from more diverse backgrounds, more often. This course offers leaders, practitioners, and young people alike superb professional development opportunities to build their skills and develop highly effective policies and programmes which enable the potential of sport as a force for good to be realised fully and inclusively in the countries of the Commonwealth – and more widely."

Patricia Scotland - Secretary-General, Commonwealth


"This course provides an exciting opportunity for all those in the Pacific and around the world interested in learning how to take action and use sport to make a positive impact. In the Pacific sport is being used by governments, organisations and communities as an enabler of change. Today, more than ever, sport is becoming an important tool to support the communication of information and to teach children, young people and adults. By harnessing the positive power of sport, we have an opportunity to shape the development of ideas, opinions and actions – both at home and abroad. I would encourage anyone interested in learning how they can use sport as a tool to support the advancement of the sustainable development agenda, to sign up for this course."

Dr Robin Mitchell - Oceania Olympic Committee President; Executive Board Member IOC


"I benefited from the four-week online training course as I learnt more about pitching, structuring, and developing sport for development (S4D) initiatives and programs. The tools and documentation helped me gain more knowledge about sport and development. I encourage people to register for the course, be they S4D instructors or administrators. A big thank you to all who helped develop and deliver this world class training which I recommend to all with an interest in the field.”

Maureen Rosita Ojong Ebob-Besong - Sport and Development Youth Leader


"Recognising the need to increase access to resources and educational opportunities for a wide and varied audience, this course focuses on helping learners to understand how to effectively integrate sport into policies and programmes to advance the SDGs. In an era where the face-to-face delivery of sport has been disrupted and threatened, this course helps audiences to think critically, and understand how to leverage sport, drive innovation and challenge the status-quo."

Gunnar Hagstrom - Strategic Partnerships Manager, Laureus Sport for Good


"This has been an enormous investment for me and my organization. I have encouraged my colleagues to take this course as well and others on this platform, so we are on the same page. The learning has been incredible and the opportunities and options to make change immense. Thank you for this opportunity."

Student (Anonymous)


"This course has been more than three years in the making and we are thrilled to see so many individuals across countries, continents and cultures join its first iteration. We have very good engagement rates compared to other open online courses, and we will use learner and expert feedback to improve the course in stages."

Ben Howard - Chair, sportanddev Steering Board; Programme Manager, TeamUp


"Before and during the COVID-19 pandemic, we have seen a shift towards online and e- learning. As many sport for development organizations, networks, practitioners and other stakeholders started to adapt to the lockdown measures and different realities on the ground, we saw the development of an even stronger and more inclusive online community of exchange, knowledge sharing and capacity building. With this global community forming and strengthening with each new webinar and online workshop offered, it presented an ideal landscape for the launch of the online course ‘Sport for Sustainable Development: Designing Effective Policies and Programmes. I was incredibly impressed by the course’s mix of policy and programming, research and practice oriented tools in addition to interactive elements where global learners had the opportunities to reflect on their own realities and learn from other’s practices. As someone who is very familiar with online courses, this one went way beyond my expectations. Already in the beginning of the course, when learners had the chance to place where they were on the map or to share other examples, I saw that the developers and curators of the course were also as interested in learning from the learners as the reverse relationship. As a learner, I found the templates in each module incredibly beneficial as it allowed one to create a mini toolkit which I plan on using in my next projects or programming.

Overall, I took away a lot of key learnings from the course and in discussions with other learners, have only heard positive reviews. One area where I feel there could be improvement is in the learner community. As the course included a global audience and learners were asked to share their insights and examples from their own communities, it could be beneficial as a next step to create a learning community group, where the different templates could be re-shared, the map could be accessible to everyone and a moderated or unmoderated exchange could continued amongst the group. There could be a space where learners who are using the tools from the course can then ask questions and reflect on how effective they were or weren’t and where the community of sport for development researchers, practitioners, doers and other stakeholders could continue to build, amplify and strengthen this sector."

Marisa Schlenker - Programme Manager, Yunus Sport Hub


"The course was well presented and utilised many experts in the field to provide information and perspective. A brilliant resource for sport and development practitioners which provides a one stop shop for information, tools and frameworks to assist in the design and delivery of sport and development (policies and programmes)."

Student (Anonymous)