There are a number of disaster response interventions that use sport as a psychosocial tool to help survivors of such events to overcome trauma and strengthen resiliency.

Research and evaluation in the field

The Swiss Academy for Development has a number of projects and continues to develop the body of evidence for sport in disaster response through programme evaluation and research.

The project, “Sport and Play for Traumatised Children and Youth in Iran” began after the earthquake in Bam, Iran, in 2003 and used a variety of sport activities and games to build resilience in children and young people in Bam. Research data has been gathered during this project with a focus on sport’s impact on children’s behaviour, the role of sports coaches in a disaster setting and gender equity.

In Sri Lanka, SAD conducted a project called “Sport and Games for Social and Ethnic Integration in Sri Lanka” in partnership with Sarvodaya, a local NGO. The project involved 700 – 800 children and youth across eight sites in Sri Lanka and was designed to promote dialogue and trust; introduce psychosocial skills through sport and play activities; reintroduce structured leisure time; and to collect and analyse monitoring & evaluation data.

Moving Together: Handbook on promoting psychosocial well-being through sport and physical activity

Developed by SAD, the Technical University of Munich, the International Council of Sport Science and Physical Education (ICSSPE) and the Reference Centre for Psychosocial Support of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent, this handbook is intended to enable practitioners and experts in sociology, psychology, social work, and sport and physical education to provide sport and play based psychosocial support programmes to people in crisis situations. To view the handbook, click here.

Sport in Post-Disaster Intervention Seminars

ICSSPE has developed a number of initiatives related to sport and disaster response. Following the tsunami, ICSSPE hosted a seminar in Bangkok, Thailand, on Rehabilitation through Adapted Physical Activity and Sport. This was followed closely by a second seminar in Berlin, Germany in 2006.

As interest in this area grew, ICSSPE developed a week-long training seminar on Sport in Post-Disaster Intervention in partnership with the German Red Cross and Kennesaw State University. Seventy-eight professionals from more than twenty countries attended the first international seminar in Rheinsberg, Germany in 2007.

In association with the seminar, participants received a Handbook on Sport and Physical Activity in Post-Disaster Intervention which detailed key theoretical and practical information to enable participants to plan and deliver a sport programme in the post-disaster setting. A second seminar was held from 1 to 7 November, 2008, also in Rheinsberg, Germany. Visit the ICSSPE website for details

Moving Forward: A Toolkit for Disaster Responders

Mercy Corps, CARE and Nike worked together to develop a toolkit called Moving Forward to assist practitioners in applying sport-based approaches in post-emergency situations. The toolkit was field tested in Peru and Afghanistan. To view the toolkit, click here.

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