Skip to main content

How Sport for Development and Peace Works (Pt. IV)

Pic: blog.drstankovich.com
Part IV of our series on how sport for development and peace works/

EXAMPLE 4: SPORT CAN BE USED AS A FOCAL POINT

In many societies sports clubs are used as central points for the community. Not only can they be the site of actual sporting activity, which in itself brings the community together, the location is often seen as a proxy space for both formal and informal community gatherings.

Sport, therefore, can act as a kind of motivator, a centripetal force for disconnected communities, which brings individuals together to share a common, fun, interest.

This may engender a sense of motivation or even pride among disadvantaged communities.

In practice, this means that sports clubs can be readily utilised to act as spaces for both curriculum and community education (such as physical and mental health care) or as meeting spaces for competing groups.

The actual practice of sport can act to lighten moods and expend energy which might otherwise be used to fight or to foment disputes. The shared nature of sports like football can act to link individual and the groups they populate and to smooth the way for a breaking down barriers and perceived differences.

In situations of conflict, sport can be seen as a central space where factions can co-mingle, and even compete, in a shared space and under agreed rules. Sport can provide a reason for meetings and gatherings and can be the basis for beginning peace talks or reconciliation processes.

In certain cases, disadvantaged groups can find some sense of purpose and direction in sport, as well as much needed dignity and pride in their communities and in themselves. For refugees or for those who for ethnically-based, gender-based or due to other prejudices are somehow marginalised, sport can act as a sub-conscious leveller, an educator and a socialiser.

In individual cases, sport can provide a means of expression and a proxy vehicle for which confidence and self-belief can be discovered and enhanced, thus bolstering a healthy education and social development process.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Post-UNOSDP - Is the IOC fool's gold?

This is a longer version of an article published on SportandDev.org
With the United Nations Office on Sport for Development and Peace closed down by the global body, there is undoubtedly a void in this space in which many of us here work.
But, for all the high profile oomph the UNOSDP added to the world of sport for good, it’s passing need not be seen as devastating.
For one, the work the UNOSDP has already done in its 16 years of life has laid a platform for the development of sport for social justice. While many of us knew for years that sport had a wider purpose beyond mere business or entertainment, the UNOSDP has provided a base of credibility that may have otherwise taken much longer to establish.
While much of the work is, in many ways, still to be done, the UNOSDP has left a positive legacy on which we can all build.
More problematic is the shifting of the UNOSDP’s brief to the IOC.
Obliging the IOC to administer to the peace and development facets of modern sport raises three qu…

Statement on Funding for the Rohingya Football Club

We are very pleased to announce that The Kick Project has received a $AUD16,500 donation from the Australian Government to fund a pilot soccer program with Rohingya refugees in Malaysia. The funds, coming through the Australian High Commission in Malaysia, will allow the charity to support the Rohingya Football Club which has become a vital part of the exiled Rohingya community in Kuala Lumpur. The program entails kitting out the team, providing transport to games and establishing a sports and community hub where Rohingya people can access sporting equipment and coaching. Young people, and girls in particular, are the long term focus of the initiative. The Kick Project founder James Rose says the Rohingya are in dire need of assistance. "The UN has called the Rohingya arguably the most persecuted group in the world. They've been forced to flee their homelands in Myanmar, where they have been made stateless by government decree, and many have lost their lives as a result." As r…

Playing for Positives: How Pro Sport and Good Causes Can Work Together

Interesting read from The New Yorker on the authority and power invested in professional athletes, in relation to influencing the progress of social justice.

The focus here is on American sports, but the theme can be easily extended to other sports, worldwide.

It's perhaps no surprise perhaps that the rise of pro sports as a massive industry in its own right, with the parallel gains for individuals in money and celebrity terms, that more athletes don't speak out about important issues. There's clearly a lot at stake, and a lot to lose for those who step off the tightly managed corporate line running through most large sports organisations and clubs.

But, the fact that a large percentage of today's professional athletes come from simple backgrounds, if not from situations of outright poverty and/or abuse, begs the question of why don't more speak up about the circumstances that they escaped from and in which some of their peers in youth remain ensconced?

The Kick P…