On this page you will find a practical framework on how to identify focus and priorities, when working with sport for health.
Derived from the workshop discussions during The Next Step Conference, held in Amsterdam, Novemebr 2003
How can 'sport development workers' use sport for health?
When aspiring to improve the health situation of a particular group (of beneficiaries) by means of sport activities and or programmes it is important to realise the context of the development interventions necessary. The first dilemma to be tackled is the issue of the ultimate aim of the development programme. Are the development activities principally aiming for the improvement of health (social objectives) or aiming for the improvement of sport (sport objectives). See for an explanation of this dilemma: 02 best practices guidelines.
The best practices compiled in this toolkit on the one hand explain about improving the health of people active in sports and on the other hand describe cases in which sports activities lead to defined social objectives like increased awareness on immunisation, healthier life-style etc.
Working with organisations dedicated to sports, will mean that sport development workers often focus their endeavours on improving the health of people active in sport. Whilst development workers dedicating their talents to organisations with socio-economic objectives will see sport more as means towards an end.
In this context we therefor need to distinguish between the various objectives that define the context in which we as development workers operate. The first level of analysis defines the MISSION of the organisation we work with. Working for an organisation that aims for improving health, for instance health of school children or street children or refugees, sport is a means that can be defined at PROJECT level or at PROGRAMME level. Working at project level means that our organisation (e.g. Save the children) will formulate specific projects to be carried out by our organisation to increase the health situation, create awareness on health issues etc. through sport (and other activities). Working at programme level means that our organisation will seek a partnership with other organisations with similar aims (MISSION) to establish a programme in which each organisation contributes according to their own mandate and capacities.
Working at project level means that our organisation will have to make sure that they have sufficient capacity and skills in house to carry out sport programmes. This means that CAPACITY BUILDING issues in this case are dedicated to ensuring sufficient skills to do sport activities. Of course here we assume that the organisation has sufficient capacities and skills related to health issues, because health is in their MISSION.
Working at programme level means that our organisation will seek partnership with organisations that are active in sport and sport development (in other words those that have sport development in their MISSION). The sport development organisation will contribute though their capacities to the social aim (improved health) of our organisation. CAPACITY BUILDING efforts in this case are not dedicated to improving sport skills in health organisations or health skills in sport organisations. The capacity building issue here is about forging the partnership and ensuring synergy between the partners.
Working for an organisation that is dedicated to the improvement and promotion of sport, means that health issues are seen as a means to improve the physical condition of people active in sport. In this case working on project level means that the sport development organisation will acquire skills and knowledge about issues as nutrition, food supplements, doping abuse, physiology etc. to assist people to participate in sport activities in an optimal healthy manner. Working on a programme level will mean that sport organisations will associate themselves with health clinics, research institutes, nutrition specialists etc. to achieve their aims. The SASC flyers published under best practices are a good example of this.
© UNICEF/Tsjaad 040406F-credit Christine Nesbitt
What do you need to know?
© UNICEF/Kenia 961391F-credit Giacomo Pirozzi
The sport development worker, in her/his ambition to create sustainable and coherent sport development initiatives needs a structured approach to identify the contribution of the initiatives to society. For this structured approach a number of generic tools are available that are described in the section Project management tools.
- Step 1. define the overall objective: e.g. improved health for school children or improved health for sporting youth.
- Step 2. define the purpose of your own organisation: e.g. will this be a project which we do with own means or will we seek additional and complementary capacity from other organisations (programme approach)
- Step 3. define the SMART results that need to be achieved in a specific time period to satisfy the above objectives
- Step 4. define the necessary activities that will lead to achievement of the results
- Step 5. define the necessary skills needed to carry out the initiative and determine whether you need additional skills
- Step 6. define on the basis of step 5. What capacity building is necessary within your own organisation.
In summary you should be very well aware of:
1. The mandate of your own organisation
2. The needs of the intended beneficiaries
3. The sport development initiatives that are already taking place in the context in which you operate
4. The skills needed to do the intended activities
5. The capacities of your own organisation and that of your potential partners