Sport for Development

‘Sport includes all forms of physical activity that contributes to physical fitness, mental well being, and social interaction, such as play, recreation, organized or competitive sport, indigenous sports or games.’

United Nations Inter Agency Task Force on Sport for Development and Peace Sport has the unique power to attract, mobilize and inspire. By its very nature, sport is about participation, inclusion and citizenship but most importantly it stands for human values such as respect for the opponent, acceptance of binding rules, teamwork and fairness. Each of these values is relevant to the holistic development of children and youth, building blocks for a strong, responsible and healthy community in the future. Sports based development programmes have proven to be most effective the world over, especially for interventions with ‘at risk’ children and youth. Above all, such programmes are cost effective and highly sustainable.

Outcomes of Sports based programmes

  • Age appropriate play leads to improved motor skills and better mental growth
  • Improved enrolment and attendance rates in schools as well as performance in the classroom
  • Youth adopt safe behaviours and make informed decisions to lead healthy, productive lives
  • Improved gender sensitivity
  • Decreased anti-social behavior
  • Empowering individuals with disability

‘Sport can play a role in improving the lives of not only individuals but whole communities. I am convinced the time is right to build that understanding to encourage governments, development agencies and communities to think how sport can be included more systematically in the plans to help children, particularly those living in the midst of poverty, disease and conflict.’ – Kofi Annan, former United Nations Secretary General