An introduction to the sport for protection approach produced and championed by UNHCR - the UN Refugee Agency, the International Olympic Committee and Terre des hommes.

The Sport for Protection (S4P) approach uses the unique ability of sport to actively and meaningfully engage young people. It uses sport as a tool to protect displaced children and youth from abuse, exploitation, neglect and violence, while helping to develop their skills and ability to protect themselves.

Strengthening participants’ life skills enhances their ability to protect themselves and contribute to their own protection.  The S4P approach can be implemented through stand-alone sport interventions or integrated into existing humanitarian sectors, including protection, health (physical and psychological well-being), education and livelihoods. Through incorporating sport into existing humanitarian programmatic areas, the S4P approach not only contributes to improved well-being of displaced people but can also strengthen the overall effectiveness of other interventions.

In 2018, UNHCR, the International Olympic Committee (IOC), the Swiss child relief agency Terre des hommes (Tdh) launched the Sport for Protection Toolkit: Programming with Young People in Forced Displacement Settings.

The toolkit lays out the first iteration of the sport for protection approach. It provides a framework for sport, development and humanitarian actors that guides the design and implementation of protective and developmental sports initiatives for children and youth affected by displacement. It also outlines the essential components needed to provide a safe, protective and supportive environment, and to achieve specific positive social outcomes, in particular improved social inclusion, social cohesion and psychosocial well-being.

Top banner image by UNHCR.