This feature summarises how basketball contributes to the achievement of development goals.


Why is basketball well-suited to developing people and communities?

Structured interactions that focus on pursuing shared goals reduce prejudice. Team sports such as basketball are ideal for facilitating such encounters.

Basketball is a playful activity that also appeals to the intellect and requires the development of team spirit. On the field, players must set aside differences in order to work cohesively and function as a team. Players all know their place: they must know their skills, those of their teammates and be able to quickly analyse those of their opponents. Because of the importance of teamwork, basketball is a great way to develop interpersonal skills.

Basketball requires skill, concentration and a certain amount of self-confidence. By using the characteristics developed through the practice of basketball in everyday life, participants have a better chance of finding their place as individuals and positively impacting their community.

Sport is a tool for exchanges between cultures. Basketball is one of the few collective disciplines that brings together individuals from all social and ethnic backgrounds, contributes to cultural intermingling and acts as a vehicle for solidarity for the most vulnerable. Basketball is particularly effective as a tool for peacebuilding, especially as it is often considered a neutral sport without religious or cultural affiliation.

The 3x3 form of the game is particularly popular in a development context. It is cheaper, requiring less equipment and fewer players.


To which groups is basketball best suited?

Basketball can be used with all populations: girls and boys, young and old, people with or without disabilities. The interest in basketball is widespread. It attracts individuals irrespective of their socio-economic, political and ethnic status by promoting civic engagement, leadership development and conflict resolution.


Which actors use basketball in their projects and how?

The International Basketball Foundation

The International Basketball Foundation (IBF) was founded in 2008 by the International Basketball Federation (FIBA). IBF’s mission is to address the role of sports, in particular Basketball, in the fields of community building, education, health and well-being, as well as conflict resolution. IBF promotes the values and cultural heritage of Basketball as a vector for change and develops inclusive programmes to tackle pressing issues that affect children and youth in the concerned communities. The programmes are initiated by IBF and implemented in partnership with FIBA’s member federations, local NGOs and partners with the aim of supporting collaboration between local actors and to drive economic growth in the relevant region. The Foundation is currently active in Madagascar, Rwanda, Namibia, South Sudan, Papua New Guinea and 11 countries in the Caribbean region.


The National Basketball Association (NBA) and Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA)

NBA Cares is the National Basketball Association (NBA) and Women's National Basketball Association's (WNBA) global social responsibility programme, which builds on the NBA’s mission to address important social issues. NBA Cares programmes and participants have provided more than 3.7 million hours of hands-on service and created more than 1,040 places where kids and families can live, learn or play in communities around the world. The NBA also engages more than 12 million youth annually, inspiring play and teaching the values of the game.

Through WNBA Cares, teams, players and partners are committed to creating programmes that improve the quality of life for all people, with a special emphasis on education, youth and family development, health and wellness. Whether it’s working with schools, community-based organisations or service-based volunteer organisations, teams maximise their impact in their local communities throughout the season.


PeacePlayers International

Formerly Playing for Peace, PeacePlayers International (PPI) was founded in 2000 in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Basketball was seen as a neutral sport in a region where young people are divided depending on the street where they live, the school they attend and in some cases the sport they play. PPI see basketball as being without religious or cultural associations, making it ideal in regions such as the Middle East and South Africa where there are significant divisions.


Big Bang Ballers

Established in 2008, Big Bang Ballers (BBB) fights youth disadvantage and poverty. BBB uses basketball to empower and motivate young people to further their own education and improve their health. There is an emphasis on teaching respect, a vital life skill that helps to promote an inclusive society and a sense of community in some of the most disengaged regions. BBB has operations in, among others, Australia, France, Senegal, Nepal and Afghanistan.


Hoops for Hope

Hoops for Hope (H4H) provides a safe environment for young people to develop their sporting skills and a space for developing life skills. Working in partnership with schools and community organisations in Zimbabwe and South Africa, H4H delivers programmes designed to have a ripple effect on the wider community. The Skills 4 Life programme teaches young adults the importance of decision making, particularly when it comes to sexual health, substance abuse and conflict resolution.